Even before the first week of December was done, the Marcellus boys basketball team had a chance to open some eyes among followers of the OHSL Liberty division - but it only got half the task accomplished.
The Mustangs, who didn’t even make the Section III Class B playoffs a season ago, ventured to Buckley Gym Friday night to face Cazenovia, each side having won their season openers – Marcellus over Jordan-Elbridge 89-71, Cazenovia over Solvay 58-47.
At the very least, Marcellus had to feel good about the way it played in the opener against Jordan-Elbridge, taking command at the outset and not letting go.
Setting a quick tempo and making plenty of defensive stops, Marcellus grabbed a 21-6 lead by the end of the first quarter. A wild second quarter followed, with J-E erupting for 27 points – and still losing ground as Marcellus got 34, meaning that it had a 55-33 lead at the break.
Though it could not maintain that torrid pace, Marcellus still expanded its lead to 74-46 by the fourth quarter, and cruised the rest of the way.
Mike Hastings, with 17 points and 13 rebounds, led an attack where nine different players got at least one field goal. Jordan Bandera had 15 points, five rebounds, five steals and three assists, while Wyatt Stehle managed 15 points and eight rebounds. Mike Melnyczuk had nine points, with Mike Dillon (seven points) and Cole Walsh (six points) close behind.
On J-E’s side, Ryan Matousek picked up 20 points, leading both sides. Ryan Cooper and Kyle Matousek each had 12 points, while Jake Melfi (seven points) and Brandon Macvicz (six points) followed.
Shaking this off, J-E returned home on Thursday night and, in an impressive effort, earned its first victory of the season, pulling away late to beat the Solvay Bearcats 73-56.