PREP BOYS BASKETBALL: Marshall gets tripped up by Waseca, 79-67
MARSHALL –Behind a combined 54 points from scoring leaders Andrew Morgan and Ryan Dufault, the No. 1 (Class AA) ranked Waseca boys basketball team flexed its muscles again on Saturday to hand No. 7 (Class AAA) Marshall its second loss of the season in a 79-67 final.
The matchup between the two top teams in the Big South Conference comes a month after their first meeting that saw the Bluejays pull away in the early part of the second half in a 75-66 win. Though the final outcome remained the same, Marshall coach Travis Carroll was pleased with the adjustments made by his team between the two matchups.
“I felt our kids played hard, they fought hard (today). The first time around we got behind quite a bit in the second half and (today) we did a better job of competing to begin the second half than we did the first time around,” said Carroll. “There were definitely some positives to take from the game to show that we’ve definitely improved more from earlier in the year when we played against them.”
Most notably, Carroll said the team took better care of the basketball which led to better offensive possessions and stronger shot selections.
“We definitely wanted to take care of the basketball better this time around and it felt like we did a better job (today),” said Carroll. “We wanted to be a little more patient on offense and do a little better job with our shot selection and I thought the guys did a good job of sharing the basketball tonight as well. Rebounding we kind of struggled on the boards (tonight), that was kind of an area that we hoped we’d do a little bit better on.”
Marshall got off to the fast start it was looking for early on in the first half as Chase Douglas opened a 7-3 scoring run out of the gate for the Tigers with a 3-pointer on the opening possession before Brevin Runia and Josh Baker followed with baskets of their own. The slim advantage wouldn’t last long, however, as Marshall made it 9-5 before Waseca stormed back to take a 13-11 lead that it never relinquished.
Powered by a dominant display inside by Morgan, the Bluejays went on an 8-0 run to make it a 21-11 game midway through the half. The Tigers fought back with a timely 3-pointer by Baker and baskets by Charlie Jacobson and leading-scorer Bryce Lance down the stretch, but Waseca held on to a 33-30 lead at the buzzer.
After making life difficult inside for the Tigers in the opening 20, Morgan showed off his versatility by knocking down a 3-pointer early on in the second half that helped spark a 12-5 run to push the lead back to double digits for Waseca and forced the Tigers to take a timeout to regroup. Carroll tipped his cap to Morgan for his performance and the challenges he presents in trying to defend him.
“He’s a tough matchup. We thought our kids worked really hard against him to begin the game and he was doing a good job of scoring near the basket. So, we definitely had to get the basketball out of his hands a little bit and we were able to do some good things at the end of the first half and then they made some good adjustments to begin the second half with what we were doing,” said Carroll.
“When he hit those three 3’s that’s tough when a kid who plays that well inside is able to step out and hit those perimeter shots like that as well,” added Carroll.
Marshall would come within three points of tying the game midway through the half on a made 3-pointer by Baker to make it 45-42, but the Tigers were unable to fully close the gap as the Bluejays put their foot on the gas down the stretch to push the lead back to double digits in a 79-67 final.
Marshall will look to get back in the win column early this week when the team hits the road to take on Luverne today and St. Peter on Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. Looking ahead, Carroll is hopeful that the team can continue to grow in multiple areas in the latter portion of the regular season and into the postseason.
“We’re going to have to continue to work hard on taking care of the basketball. We’re going to have to work hard on the defensive end of communicating, limiting teams to one shot (and) trying to win the battle on the boards,” said Carroll.
“I think we have a lot of good potential and we have two games today and Tuesday coming up next week so we can’t be hanging our heads after this game. We have to get our heads back up and get ready to go again early next week,” Carroll added.
Waseca 79, Marshall 67
Marshall 30 37 — 67
Waseca 33 46 — 79
Scoring: Marshall (Lance 9-18, 2-3, 21; Baker 7-14, 0-0, 19; Runia 3-6, 3-4, 9; Douglas 3-6, 0-0, 8; Jacobson 3-4, 0-0, 6; Wilts 1-2, 0-0, 3; Bly 0-3, 1-2, 1) Rebounds: Marshall 21 (Runia 6; Lance 4; Baker 3; Bly, Douglas, Wilts 2; Jacobson, Abdi 1); Assists: Marshall 17 (Lance 8; Douglas 3; Runia, Baker 2; Wilts, Bly 1); Blocks: Marshall 2 (Lance 2); Steals: Marshall 4 (Lance, Kuecker, Douglas, Baker 1)