PREP BOYS BASKETBALL: Effective first half pushes Tigers past Pipestone Area

Photo by Jake Przytarski Marshall’s Matt Hmielewski goes up for a layup during their game against Pipestone on Friday. The Tigers defeated the Arrows 53-42.

MARSHALL – The Marshall boys basketball team appeared unstoppable in the first half of Friday night’s home matchup with Big South Conference rival Pipestone. At the half, the Tigers looked to be on their way to a rout, holding a 31-12 lead.

In what can only be described as a tale of two halves, the Arrows flipped the script on the Tigers and trimmed the deficit to 11 points via a 14-6 scoring run to begin the second half.

Though the Tigers would hold on for the 53-42 victory, Marshall coach Travis Carroll believes his team was unable to match the Arrows’ intensity in the final half of play and attributes the victory to their strong start.

“We got off to a fast start,” said Carroll. “In the first half (our) kids played extremely well and defended extremely well. I think the key was we got off to a really good start, and I think we didn’t match Pipestone’s effort and in intensity in the second half. I thought Pipestone definitely did a great job of making a good run at us in the second half of the game.”

Opening up the game with a bang, Matt Onken scored the team’s first six points of the game including a fast-break dunk that brought the crowd to its feet and gave the Tigers a 6-2 lead.

Feeding off of the big play, the Tigers gave the Arrows fits trying to move the ball up court, holding Pipestone to only four points over the next 11 minutes of play. Forced to call a timeout to regroup, the Tigers were in complete control with a 17-6 lead.

Continuing to provide problems on the defensive end, the Tigers cruised into halftime up 31-12.

The complexion of the game changed dramatically upon returning to the floor for the second half as the Arrows amped up the intensity level and began dominating the boards and generating second-chance points. Before long, the Arrows were right back in the game and only down by 11.

Reflecting on the performance of his team in the second half, Carroll identified rebounding as a facet of the game his team struggled with.

“I’d say rebounding was not very good in the second half,” said Carroll. “It takes a lot of effort to box out and go after the rebounds, and we didn’t play with that effort and that intensity that we needed to. In the second half they really took it to us on the offensive boards. That was disappointing to see and something that we have to continue to work on and get better at.”

In need of a spark, the Tigers received it from Camryn Allex with a 3-point shot, followed by a basket by the team’s leading scorer in Matt Hmielewski to push the lead to 42-28.

All the way to the final buzzer, the Arrows kept pace with the Tigers and even cut the lead into single digits at 50-41. In the end, the comeback attempt by Pipestone fell short, as Marshall held on to win 53-42.

The Tigers were led in scoring by Hmielewski with 12 points followed by Onken with 10 to go along with five rebounds. Noah Peutz ended the night with eight points, while Bryce Paulsen and Allex each added six.

Back on their home floor today, the Tigers will look to improve to 9-3 on the season with a win over Mankato East at 3 p.m.

Carroll is hoping for his team to turn the page on their second-half performance and learn from it in order to be ready for the challenge that the Cougars will bring.

“(We’ve) gotta have a short memory,” said Carroll. “We gotta learn from the things that didn’t go well and then we gotta get after it tomorrow because Mankato East has a very good basketball team. It should be a good challenge.”

Marshall 53, Pipestone 42

Pipestone 12 30 – 42

Marshall 31 22 – 53

SCORING: Marshall (Hmielewski 5-12, 0-0 12; Onken 5-7, 0-0 10; Peutz 3-10, 0-0 8; Paulsen 2-7, 0-0 6; Allex 2-2, 0-0 6; Ehlers 1-4, 1-2 3; Lance 1-3, 1-4 3; Steinbach 1-1, 1-2 3; Black 1-1, 0-0 2).

REBOUNDS: Marshall 24 (Onken, Peutz 5; Paulsen 4; Ehlers 3; Hmielewski, Allex 2; Black, Lance, Steinbach 1).

ASSISTS: Marshall 12 (Allex 4; Lance, Peutz 2).

STEALS: Marshall 13 (Peutz 3; Allex, Hmielewski, Onken, Paulsen 2).

BLOCKS: Marshall none.