SECTION 2AAA BOYS BASKETBALL: Tigers march past New Ulm in section opener

Photo by Emily Daniels Marshall’s Bryce Paulsen puts up a shot during their Section 2AAA Tournament game against New Ulm on Wednesday. The Tigers won 72-41.

MARSHALL – The No. 2 seed Marshall boys basketball team were locked in a back-and-forth battle in the opening minutes with No. 7 seed New Ulm on Wednesday night. Then the Tigers offense came alive.

With Marshall holding a 25-16 lead, the Tigers broke open the offensive floodgates, outscoring the Eagles 18-3 the rest of the first half to take a 43-19 lead at the break. Marshall continued to add to its lead in the second half, ultimately cruising to a 72-41 win in the first round of the Section 2AAA tournament.

Coming off a big win over New Ulm in the first section game coach Travis Carroll saw some big steps that the team took in the game not just on the offensive side, but on defense that helped guide themselves to the win.

“Our guys gave a really good effort on the defensive side of things tonight and that was great to see them working together and communicating and that was a big step for us tonight,” said Carroll. “And offensively as the game progressed we did a much better job of taking care of the basketball and working together. Those were definitely two areas that we needed to have a good night with and we’re both good for our team. Hopefully we can look to build on that going into Saturday.”

With a first half that started with trading baskets from both teams, it was looking to be a game that could’ve gone either way in the end. The Tigers took it upon themselves to find a small 9-4 lead over the Eagles early on with 15:20 remaining. Marshall was strong on the offensive end right from the start and looked to stay dominant on the court with a seven-point run that ended with 9:21 on the clock, giving itself a 16-7 lead over New Ulm. The Tigers then hit a cold streak over the next couple of minutes, and that gave the Eagles the chance to go on a little five-point run closing the gap to 16-11 with 7:41 remaining in the half. Marshall didn’t let New Ulm’s offensive streak get into its head and eventually worked its way back to a 10-point lead with just five minutes left to play.

The Tigers then began to fire on all cylinders from that point on, as Marshall got a key steal from Matthew Hmielewski that led to a breakaway layup to put the Tigers up 29-17. Hmielewski didn’t stop at that first breakaway as he followed it up with another steal and put up two more points for Marshall, giving the Tigers an even bigger lead at 31-17 with just under four minutes left in the first half. Along with Hmielewski’s strong defensive efforts, was big points under the basket for Andrew Bennett. Bennett was a key player in the paint, as he helped bring the Tigers up to an even bigger lead at 34-17. The remainder of the half saw the Tigers using their strengths on both ends of the court to keep the steady lead in their hands, including a 3-pointer by Jacob Hess to end the first half and make it 43-19 at the break in favor of Marshall.

The Tigers came into the second half ready to maintain its aggressiveness on either end of the floor. New Ulm came out first with a basket, but Marshall quickly answered with a string of baskets to go up 52-21 early. Rebounding was a key asset to the Tigers performance, as Marshall outrebounded the Eagles 38-16 on the night, including a 17-2 advantage in offensive boards.

Marshall continued to use its dominance on the court by finding a 67-29 lead with 7:56 remaining in the game, as New Ulm struggled to keep up with the fast pace and crisp passing of the Tigers. Marshall would turn to its bench to finish out the game, as Luke Jones put the closing touches with a steal and a transition basket to put the Tigers up 72-36 with 4:02 left before Marshall took home the victory with a final score of 72-41.

Leading the way for Marshall was Trey Lance, who racked in a total of 19 points, followed by Bryce Paulsen with 13 and Hess with 10. The Tigers shot 30 of 59 for total shots and six of 12 at the free-throw line.

Going into the next game, Carroll saw some positive things that the team can take away from their win against New Ulm as they face a familiar foe in the No. 3 Waseca Bluejays on Saturday at 1:45 p.m. at Gustavus Adolphus College.

“Something that we can take away on the defensive side of things was it was nice to get some positive momentum back on the defensive end of the floor,” said Carroll. “And as far as the offensive side of things go we can take away is offensively we did a good job of working together and getting a lot of guys involved in the game.”

New Ulm 19 22 – 41

Marshall 43 29 – 72

Scoring: New Ulm 15-36, 41.6 percent (Foley 7-11 0-1 17; Melby 2-10, 1-2 6; Janke 2-5, 1-2 5; Domeier 1-2, 0-0 2; Zimmerman 0-3, 2-2 2; Miller 0-0, 2-2 2; Hames 1-1, 0-0 2; Peters 1-2, 0-2 2; Bolduan 1-1, 0-0 2; Babel 0-0 1-2 1); Marshall 30-59, 50.8 percent (Lance 7-14, 1-2 19; Paulsen 6-7, 1-2 13; Hess 4-8, 1-2 10; Onken 4-6, 1-3 9; Klaith 3-6, 0-0 6; Steinbach 1-1, 2-4 4; Hmielewski 2-2, 0-0 4; Bennett 2-2, 0-0 4; Puetz 1-7, 1-1 3).

Rebounds: New Ulm 16 (Foley 6; Melby 5; Hames 2; Bolduan, Peters 1); Marshall 38 (Lance, Onken 6; Hess, Paulsen, Steinbach 4).

Assists: New Ulm 3 (Zimmerman, Miller, Hames 1); Marshall 10 (Lance, Klaith, Onken 2).

Steals: New Ulm 6 (Peters, Foley 2); Marshall 10 (Hmielewski 4).

Blocks: New Ulm 1 (Melby); Marshall 1 (Onken).

Fouls: New Ulm 10; Marshall 14.

Turnovers: New Ulm 17; Marshall 12.