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Mustangs Ride Roller-Coaster to Win Over SLUH
December 14, 2012Marquette Mustang Basketball
While tonight’s opening round of the 13th Annual Webster Classic was being played in Webster Groves proper, it may as well have been played in the western suburbs of Eureka on the Screaming Eagle as a game of severe momentum changes eventually came to a rest in the hands of Marquette as they defeated Saint Louis U High 47-42.
After a dismal offensive performance in the season-opener over two weeks ago in Troy, Marquette needed a hot start and that’s just what they got. Senior Dillon Jones drove the right side of the lane for a lay-in to put his team up by a bucket and three possessions later, Tanner Stabenow joined his senior teammate in the scoring column with a three from the left wing. Buckets by Brooks Gerrity and a three-point conversion by Jones stretched the lead out to 10-2. Matt Hink tallied from in close off a nice feed from Jones before another trey (this time by Gerrity) splashed home) to increase the lead to 15-4. When Jones nailed a mid-range jumper just before the buzzer, the Mustangs were up 17-7 after a period.
The second stanza looked to be more of the same as Gerrity nailed his second three from the left baseline, Hink scored at the bucket and senior Sam Ploeger hit on his first three of the season. At that point the MHS advantage had swelled to 25-7. A Junior Billiken team that had begun the season 4-0 highlighted by a Southside Classic tournament title and a big MCC league win over Chaminade began at that point to show why they were a team to reckon with this season. After only forcing the Mustangs into two turnovers at that stage of the game (5:30 to go in the half), SLUH was able to take advantage of five ballhandling miscues by MHS and 0/4 shooting by the Kelly-clad Mustangs to go on a 10-0 run to end the half and trail 25-19 at the break.
The SLUH comeback was only beginning though. To start the third, the Junior Bills hit on their first three shots while the Mustang offensive doldrums continued to the tune of three early misses. A SLUH free throw gave the Junior Bills their first lead at 26-25 midway through the third quarter. FINALLY, Marquette converted, this time on an old-fashioned three-point play by Hink. Unfortunately, that would be the next-to-last bucket of the quarter for Marquette and as the game entered the final period, the scoreboard indicated a 32-all tie.
An early Stabenow free throw put Marquette back on top early in the quarter and senior Chris Lenzen’s first three of the game splashed home to put MHS up 36-32. By the time Stabenow went 2/2 from the charity stripe, a Mustang team that looked as if it had withered up and died offensively had mysteriously found the fuel for a 6-0 run to go up 38-32. Buckets by Hink and Stabenow moments later kept the score in Marquette’s favor before late free throws became the difference. Three times in the final 2:00, SLUH was able to pull within a possession but a 5/6 performance from the free throw line combined by Lenzen and Gerrity were enough to allow Marquette to claim the five-point victory.
The win moves Marquette into the winners bracket at Webster for the first time since the inaugural season of the school’s participation in the event (back in 2007). The Mustangs take on the host Statesmen in the feature 7pm semi-final on Friday, December 7.
Leading Scorers: Matt Hink-12, Brooks Gerrity-12. Leading Rebounders: Gerrity-7, Hink-6. Leading Assists: Dillon Jones-2, Hink-2, Gerrity-2. HARD HAT AWARD WINNER: John Conlon
Game Stats-click HERE
Video Highlights-click HERE