Feb 18, 2012 Kris Russell Uncategorized
From the depths of an 0-5 start, the Marcellus boys basketball team now finds itself one of four survivors in the Section III Class B playoffs.
Kyle Hastings scored 22 points to power the no. 12 seed Mustangs past no. 13 seed and two-time defending champion Westhill, 43-35, in Friday night’s Class B quarterfinals.
The meeting of OHSL Liberty division rivals and neighbors was a tense defensive struggle throughout. Marcellus and Westhill went to halftime tied at 17-17, and things weren’t much different after intermission as Marcellus led 28-27 heading into the fourth quarter.
But the final frame went the Mustangs’ way from the start. Hastings scored 12 of his side’s 15 points, including four almost immediately from the start that gave the hosts some breathing room.
“He’s a competitor,” Marcellus coach Jim Marsh said. “He’s a big strong kid who can go to the basket.”
Hastings missed much of the year after suffering an injury playing football. He didn’t dress for the first regular season game against Westhill, an easy Warriors win. Hasting was back for the second meeting, a 21-point Mustangs rout.
“He was the difference in the last two games,” Marsh said.
“We just couldn’t handle (Hastings),” Westhill coach Kevin King said. “He had 22 out of the 43 points. He’s a good player.”
King and his team look non-worried about Hastings and Marcellus at the start. The Warriors built up a 9-2 lead that forced Marsh to use two timeouts. And the Mustangs continued to play poorly, but Westhill failed to build on their advantage.
“We kind of got away from what got us to nine,” King said “We did some good things moving away from the zone and started going to some of the things we didn’t want to do.”
Marsh felt his team was a little too anxious to perform in front of the large crowd.
“We were pumped up (and) we were overeager,” he said. “Then we shifted and went to another zone defense.”
Marcellus slowly found its best stride and took its first lead (10-9) early in the second quarter. The teams traded the lead three times in the second stanza before heading to the break tied.
Neither team could take a lead of more than three points in the third quarter, setting up Hastings’ powerhouse fourth quarter effort.
Marcellus point guard Nick Sinay had a solid game. Sinay dropped in 11 points on a combination of drives to the basket and 3-point shots.
Westhill’s excellent senior guard/forward Ryan Conroy led his team with 17 points. Freshman Jordan Roland drained a trio of 3-pointers to finish with nine points.
Marcellus faces no. 1 seed Bishop Ludden in the Class B semifinal next week. The Mustangs are looking to win their first sectional title since 1978.
Ludden, whose last sectional title came in 2001, had no trouble in its Class B quarterfinal against no. 8 seed Hannibal. As Marcellus was knocking out Westhill, the Gaelic Knights were pummeling the Warriors 81-40.
Refreshed from a first-round bye, Ludden caught Hannibal off a 60-58 double-overtime win over Clinton in the opening round earlier in the week, and pushed things from the start. By halftime, the margin was 41-20, and the Gaelic Knights kept pulling further away.
Dan Kaigler earned nine of his 21 points at the free-throw line, while Ben Hackett got 12 points. Matt Rogers and Zach Walser earned nine points apiece, with Cameron Littlejohn adding seven points and Cory Poplawski managing six points.
Ludden and Marcellus meet in the Class B semifinal Wednesday at 8 p.m. at Jamesville-DeWitt. The winner will play Bishop Grimes or Vernon-Verona-Sherrill March 4 at the Carrier Dome for the sectional title.