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Late Rush Propels Marquette to Eldon Tourney Finals

January 26, 2013
Marquette Mustang Basketball

In a game that seemed almost from the get-go to be “one of those nights”, Marquette overcame over 30 minutes of playing from behind to stage a furious fourth quarter comeback to overtake Carl Junction 62-59 and earn a ticket to the 2013 Eldon Invitational title game.

Matt Hink opened the scoring as he did on the tournament’s opening night for his squad to tie the score at 2-2.  A Chris Lenzen trey gave the Mustangs a 5-4 lead and when Hink tallied again off a Brooks Gerrity feed, Marquette led it 7-6.  At that point with just over 5:30 to play in the first quarter, Carl Junction took the lead on a drive and held that advantage until just over 3:00 to play IN THE GAME.  The teams matched buckets the rest of the quarter and after Dillon Jones’ driving lay-in the Bulldogs led it 13-11 after a period.

The first possession of the second was a foreboding omen for MHS.  The Mustangs were able to launch FOUR shots on the trip to go with a couple of offensive boards but none would splash home before a bad pass went the other way for a Carl Junction bucket.  Jones converted on a baseline jumper with about 6:30 to play in the half to pull his team to within two.  That scene would play its way out many, many times the majority of the game as Carl Junction would answer the Mustangs’ surges.  While the Mustangs would hit on 6/8 free throws in the period and benefit from old-fashioned three-point plays by both Hink and Lenzen, the gap never got closer than the aforementioned two.  Brooks Gerrity ended a 23-possession streak without a three-pointer right before the half, but Marquette still trailed it by two at 28-26 heading to the intermission.

The back-and-forth continued through the first half of the third quarter.  A three to take the lead to open the second half rattled in and out and seconds later, the Bulldogs had gone to the other end and laid it in to stretch the lead to four.  Those two and four-point advantages stayed in place as both teams shot it well in the first half of the third period.  The Mustangs scored 10 points in their next five possessions (buckets by Hink, Gerrity, a trey by Tanner Stabenow and another three-point play by Hink) but STILL could not close the gap.  The opportunity that each team had been looking for took place at the 3:30 mark.  Carl Junction would score the last five points of the quarter and what had been a very tight contest stretched out to a 43-36 lead for CJ after three.

Marquette caught a break to open the fourth.  Stabenow was fouled on an early three attempt and nailed all three charity tosses to close to within four (all of which happened after a Bulldog three-pointer rimmed out that would’ve made for a double-digit lead).  After an empty possession, Marquette made their move.  A three by Gerrity was followed by a tough, in-traffic drive by Jones and another trey by Stabenow, this time off a hustling track-down of a loose ball by Hink.  When Jones drove and scored and added a free throw off the foul, Marquette had FINALLY tied the game at 49-all with just over 4:00 to play.  Carl Junction would not go away as they answered with a deuce of their own to lead by a pair.  A HUGE three by Jones gave MHS its first lead since early in the game and then free throws became the story.  The Mustangs nailed their final eight tosses from the stripe and a total of 14/15 for the half and 20/25 for the game to finish off a three-point victory whose possibilities seemed remote at the end of the third quarter.

A third straight first-ever meeting will take place for Marquette as they advance to the Eldon Invitational finals for a third straight year.  O’Fallon Christian will be the opposition as the two squads tip off at 7pm in Eldon on Saturday, January 26 for the right to take home the big trophy of the tourney.

Leading Scorers:  Matt Hink-16, Dillon Jones-15, Brooks Gerrity-12, Chris Lenzen-10, Tanner Stabenow-9.  Leading Rebounders:  Hink-9, Gerrity-7.  Leading Assists:  Lenzen-4, four tied with 2.  HARD HAT AWARD WINNER:  Dillon Jones

For game stats-click HERE

For video highlights-click HERE

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