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Two Words: FINAL FOUR!!!!
March 11, 2012Marquette Mustang Basketball
With a basketball history highlighted by three district titles, this year’s run through a fourth district bracket capped off by a first-ever win at the State Sectionals was icing on the cake for Marquette High School. The cherry was placed on top and birthday candles lit as the Mustangs won out in their first ever appearance in a State Quarterfinal game vs CBC (66-53) to set up a historic trip to Columbia and Mizzou Arena next week as a member of the 2012 Class 5 Final Four.
Unlike most of the games in this post-season run, the Mustangs started off this contest like a house afire. After an empty trip to start the game, Chris Lenzen nailed a 22-footer from the left wing to put his team up 3-0. That was followed by two straight buckets by Ryan Rosburg (the first off a quick feed from Lenzen and subsequent jam by Ryan). A 7-0 Mustang lead quickly became 9-2 when Dillon Jones drove the lane from the left side of the key and nailed a contested layup. Two more threes (by Lenzen and Jones) kept the Mustang offense percolating but the dangerous Cadet attack was beginning to awaken. By the time the quarter ended, CBC had gone on a 14-10 run to cut the deficit to 19-16.
The sophomore, Brooks Gerrity, made his presence felt early in the second quarter. Brooks nailed threes on consecutive trips to open the quarter but the Cadets were matching the Mustangs shot for shot. While MHS hit on five three-pointers in the first half, CBC was draining four of their own. A Mustang offense that had turned the ball over only once in the first quarter would go on to cough it up six times in the second. Only an slick Alex Winter post move and a late Rosburg offensive put back kept the Mustang scoreboard lights flickering. CBC caught and passed Marquette with about two minutes left in the half and led it going into the locker rooms 32-29.
Jones opened up the third in style by canning a long three from the right corner and just like that the score was tied. After three empty possessions, Mitch Cox joined in the fun with a three from the opposite corner to put the Mustangs up 35-34 and gain a lead they would not relinquish. As the Mustang outside attack began to heat up, the bigs Rosburg and Matt Hink began to assert their inside skills. Rosburg scored on consecutive trips before Hink went up for a hook shot and three-point play that gave Marquette a five-point lead. After a CBC trey, Jones answered AGAIN with a three of his own. A Hink bucket just before the third quarter buzzer off his own board would put the HUGE Mustang crowd into delirium as MHS led it 47-41 with one quarter between them and a destination no one had dared dream of a month ago.
Dillon Jones did what he did in the third as he opened up the fourth with yet another three-pointer to put the Mustangs up nine. Moments later, the junior guard got behind the Cadet defense for a lay-in that regained the nine-point bulge. Threes then all within the span of one minute by Gerrity gave those aforementioned dreams some legs. By the time the Mustangs went to the line six times (hitting all six) and Rosburg had closed the door with one more flush behind the defense, a trip to the MSHSAA State Tournament was about to become a reality. As the seconds ticked off on the 13-point win, the Stang Gang rushed the floor to begin a celebration that lasted until the UMSL game-day staff had to turn off the lights to force the participants off the floor.
The 20-win Mustangs will venture to Columbia and Norm Stewart Court in Mizzou Arena next Thursday, March 8 to take on a foe from earlier this year. The winners of 29 straight games, the Nixa Eagles, will take to the floor with MHS for a 6:50 tip and a berth in the state championship game on the line.
Leading Scorers: Ryan Rosburg-16, Dillon Jones-13, Brooks Gerrity-12, Chris Lenzen-9. Leading Rebounders: Rosburg-12, Matt Hink-5. Leading Assists: Lenzen-6, Mitch Cox-4. HARD HAT AWARD WINNER: Dillon Jones
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For video highlights-click HERE
For prepcasts.com’s audio broadcast-click HERE
For foxsportsmidwest.com’s video broadcast-click HERE