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Marquette Concludes Historic Season With a State 4th Place Finish
April 3, 2012Marquette Mustang Basketball
At the beginning of February, having endured five excruciating overtime losses, two three-game losing streaks, a bestowed-upon #5 district seed and possessing a mediocre 11-10 record…anyone predicting anything but a ho-hum finish to the 2011-2012 Marquette basketball season would have received knowing nods. In a performance though that said everything about the character of a group of young men who pulled their team’s collective bootstraps up in a remarkable turnaround, the Mustangs finished off a FINAL FOUR season today with a loss in the MSHSAA Class 5 Third Place game, losing to Kansas City’s best team (Lee’s Summit West) by a count of 53-41.
Unlike yesterday’s game versus Nixa in the State semis, the Mustangs started off as if offense wasn’t going to be the “tooth-pulling episode” it was the day before. Matt Hink collected a bucket on a slick post move and was quickly followed up by a strong drive and hoop by Dillon Jones. Three straight makes (two by Mitch Cox sandwiched around another Hink basket and the Mustangs led it 10-8. The pressure that the other three members of this Final Four were able to bring to bear again caught up to MHS at that point. The last seven trips of the first quarter resulted in five turnovers and zero points as the Titans (also making their school’s first trip to the State Tournament) capitalized and led it 13-10 after the first.
Jones again responded early for the Mustangs with a jumper and was followed up by two free throws by Hink but the quickness of Lee’s Summit West was becoming evident. Through the remainder of the half, Mustang passes were being picked off and returned the other way (five more Mustang miscues in the second quarter, 22 for the game and the subsequent 23 points they led to for the Titans were huge in the game’s outcome) with alarming regularity. With all that, much like the Nixa game, Marquette was right in the ballgame at halftime, trailing by only 24-20.
The promise of a tightly-contested game was in jeopardy early in the third though as consecutive Marquette turnovers to open the half both led to Titan buckets and an eight-point advantage. Not until the ninth possession did the Mustangs score as Ryan Rosburg converted inside to keep the game within reach at 34-25. Late buckets by Mitch Cox and a jumper by Alex Winter meant Marquette trailed the game 36-29 heading into the fourth.
Marquette’s second all-time leading scorer and all-time leading rebounder, Rosburg, would not let his team die in the fourth. Ryan accounted for seven straight Mustang points (the last on an emphatic offensive board and dunk) early in the fourth. With that push, Marquette was able to cut the lead to six and had the ball looking to make some noise with just under 4:00 to play. Unfortunately, that bucket by Rosburg would mark the last field goal save for a late attempt just before the buzzer going in by Marquette. With those aforementioned 22 turnovers, an 11/20 performance from the charity stripe and 0/7 shooting from long-distance (1/17 for the Final Four weekend), the effort and grit of the never-say-die Mustangs were just not enough as Lee’s Summit West garnered the third place trophy with the dozen-point victory.
The State Fourth Place finish though capped a remarkable season by the Mustangs as they finished the most successful post-season in school history. A feat that captured the hearts of a student body that packed and overwhelmed all numbers of fans at Mizzou Arena for both the semi- and third-place games….this was a team that will go down in Mustang annals as one to be remembered for a very long time.
Leading Scorers: Ryan Rosburg-15, Mitch Cox-11. Leading Rebounders: Rosburg-6, Chris Lenzen-4. Leading Assists: Lenzen-2.
Seniors Playing Their Final Game: #11 Jordan Singer, #20 Mitch Cox, #23 Matt Bowlin, #33 Davis Miller, #34 Stephen Kroner, #40 Ryan Marks, #42 Alex Winter & #44 Ryan Rosburg.
For game stats-click HERE