Nov 29, 2007 Phil Blackwell Uncategorized
Just one game into the OHSL Liberty division slate, the Marcellus boys basketball team already is in possession of a key road win.
The Mustangs gained this victory Tuesday night, at cozy Buckley Gym, where it nearly blew an 18-point second-half lead to defending league champion Cazenovia but held on to beat the Lakers 70-68.
As well as the Mustangs played in the game’s middle stages, it still needed Cazenovia teammates Chris Nourse and Bryan Wight to miss key free throws in the last nine seconds for Marcellus to prevail.
Such a wild ending didn’t seem possible when Marcellus owned a 56-38 lead and was shooting close to 70 percent from the field, shredding the Lakers’ defense apart.
The fun began in the second quarter. Trailing 28-20, the Mustangs proceeded to go on a 36-10 tear that lasted well into the third period and featured different players getting hot at different times.
Jeff Watson went first, earning most of his 11 points early to keep the Mustangs within sight as Cazenovia (who, like Marcellus, won a season-opening tournament on Nov. 24) started well.
Then Matt Fox took over. Of his 16 points, 13 came in the first half, including a trio of 3-pointers. Fox, Watson, Scott Cotter (10 points) and Dan Heil (seven points) made up for the foul trouble that kept forwards Andy Reagan and Kyle Blackmer (back from his soccer recruiting trip) from being a factor.
Up 43-35 at the break, the Mustangs more than doubled the margin to 54-36 in the third quarter as sophomore Will Fiacchi took over.
Held to three minutes of play in the first half by his own foul trouble, Fiacchi returned to the court and could not miss. He had all 16 of his points after the break, 13 of them in the third quarter, as Marcellus appeared to have put the game away.
But Cazenovia would storm back. The combination of Nourse (18 points, 10 rebounds, four assists four steals), Wight (16 points), Trent Widrick (17 points) and Cody Ash (15 points) toughened up on defense and spread the scoring around as the Lakers cut the margin to one on three separate occasions down the stretch.
Then, with 26 seconds left and the score 69-68, Fox missed the front end of a one-and-one free-throw attempt, giving Cazenovia the chance to go in front. Wight missed a jumper — but off the rebound, Nourse was fouled with nine seconds to play.
To this point, Nourse had made all eight of his free throws. But this attempt was short, off the front of the rim, and Fiacchi got the rebound. Fouled with six seconds left, he made one free throw to grow the margin to two, then watched as Wight drew a foul with three seconds left.
This, too, was a one-and-one situation — and like Nourse, Wight missed the front end short. Wight got the ball back, but Watson blocked his last-second shot, and the Mustangs had the victory. It will host Jordan-Elbridge Friday night.