By Travis Andries
MARSHALL - It wasn't the start to the Travis Carroll era that the Marshall high school boys basketball team was looking for, but just barely.
Photo by Travis Andries
Marshall guard Riley Sharbono scans the floor as Fairmont’s Mitch Pfingsten (3) defends during the first half of Marshall’s 66-63 loss to the Cardinals on Saturday in Marshall.
Playing their first game under a new head coach on Saturday, the Tigers narrowly lost to the Fairmont Cardinals 66-63 after a last-second 3-point shot missed the target.
The Tigers (0-1 overall) trailed 35-26 at halftime, but shot their way back into the game and eventually tied the Cardinals at 51-51 with 6 minutes, 28 seconds remaining after Aaron Mathiowetz made one of two free throw attempts.
Fairmont, led by five of Mitch Pfingsten's game-high 25 points, responded with seven unanswered points over the next 90 seconds to jump back out in front 58-51.
Aaron Mathiowetz 5 2-4 13, Carl Douglas 1 0-0 3, Hunter Peterson 1 2-2 4, Austin Saugstad 1 4-4 6, Derek Buysse 6 4-4 18, Riley Sharbono 3 2-4 10, Tanner Bukowski 2 4-4 9 Spencer Petrich 0 0-2 0. Totals 19 18-24 63. 3-pointers 7 (Buysse 2, Sharbono 2) Rebounds 29 (Buysse 7) Assists 16 (Mathiowetz 4, Saugstad 4) Steals 10 (Douglas 3) Blocks 2 Turnovers 11 Total Fouls 19.
Mitch Pfingsten 8 4-4 25, Riley Schwieger 1 0-0 3, Justin Barnes 1 0-0 2, Luke Becker 0 2-4 2, Josh Eversman 4 0-1 9, Ryan Noll 0 2-2 2, Levi Becker 2 1-2 5, Jay Ruen 6 2-3 16, Nick Roggow 1 0-0 2. Totals 23 11-16 66. 3-pointers 9 (Pfingsten 5) Rebounds 31 (Pfingsten 5, Becker 5) Assists 15 (Ruen 4, Becker 4) Steals 8 (Ruen 3) Blocks 2 Turnovers 11 Total Fouls 19.
Halftime Score: Farimont 35, Marshall 26
A 7-2 run by Marshall found the Tigers trailing 60-58 with 1:53 to go in the game. But Jay Ruen would net four points for the Cardinals, leaving the Tigers six back with 1:17 left on the clock.
Riley Sharbono knocked down a jumper with 1:02 in the game before Mathiowetz sank a 3-pointer with nine seconds to go to cut the deficit down to a point.
The Tigers quickly fouled Pfingsten on the in-bound, but the Cardinal junior sank both free throws to force the Tigers to make a three to force overtime.
After bringing the ball up the court, Austin Saugstad delivered the ball to Sharbono on the wing. The Marshall guard was quickly swarmed by Fairmont defenders and was forced to double-clutch before releasing the game-tying try.
The ball carried long and caromed harmlessly into the open court as the final buzzer sounded.
"We were looking to get Riley the ball," Carroll said. "There were probably some adjustments that we could have made on the play, but Riley still got the shot off and it was a good look."
After a tough first half against Class AA's fifth-ranked team, the Tigers buckled down in the offensive zone in the second half according to Carroll.
"We started doing a better job of getting to the rim in the second half and working inside, getting some good looks," Carroll said. "I think we got the looks we were looking for. Defensively there are a lot of things that we need to work on going forward.
"We have to come out ready to play the next game. We gave up quite a few second chances and we made some turnovers that we don't need to be making. Those were two big categories that affected us the first half."
Despite falling short in their comeback attempt, the fact that one even took place is a testament to the depth of the team under new head coach, Carroll.
With two of their top returning scorers, Saugstad and Hunter Peterson, resigned to the bench for most of the second half with foul trouble, the Tigers were given a spark by their post players and their bench.
"There was some adversity tonight, but, you know, guys have to step in and respond," Carroll said. "We had a lot of guys who came in off the bench tonight and gave us good minutes and kept us in the game until the end. I was proud of those guys that came in, because they did a great job of keeping us in the game and gave us a chance at the end of the game to go to overtime."
Derek Buysse came off the bench to lead the Tigers in scoring and rebounding with 18 points and seven boards. Mathiowetz, the Tigers starting center, was second on the team with 13 points.
The Tigers will look to bounce back in their next game, when begin Southwest Conference play against defending conference champion Redwood Valley in Marshall on Tuesday.