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January 30, 2013Marquette Mustang Basketball
On an evening where Marquette returned home from its weekend getaway in Eldon coming off a tournament title, the Mustangs would have preferred to take on a worthy opponent in Parkway North with all its weapons available. The grind of three games in three days at the Eldon Invitational took its casualties though as Mustang stalwarts Matt Hink (27 stitches from a facial collision with the EHS hardwood) and Chris Lenzen (torn ligaments on the bottom of his foot) were on the home MHS bench in street clothes. Taking on their sectional opponent from last season’s state playoffs, the Mustangs found a way in taking a 61-50 victory on MHS’ annual Faculty Night.
Coming into tonight’s game, Marquette had featured one and only one lineup for the season. That changed tonight with the aforementioned injuries and seniors John Conlon and Sam Ploeger getting the call. The 6-5 Conlon tallied the first bucket of the game off a Tanner Stabenow drive and dish. Moments later, Dillon Jones made his mark on the night. The 6-3 senior nailed a trey from the right wing, drove the lane two trips later and proceeded to score the final three buckets of the quarter (two more threes and a traditional three-point play). Dillon’s first quarter fireworks were huge in leading his team to a big 18-3 lead after a quarter over a Viking team who just earned a trophy at the Fort Zumwalt Tournament the previous week.
After Dillon hit two free throws to open the second, Max Sidney came off the bench to convert a bucket near the rim in traffic and he was followed by a fallaway jumper by Stabenow. After going down by 18 early in the quarter, the Vikings made their move. The deficit was cut to 12 late in the period before Conlon again converted and Sam Ploeger hit a late jumper to get the lead back to 16 and set the scoreboard at 30-14 after one half of play.
The torrid offensive pace set early on by MHS began to slow somewhat in the third. After Stabenow drove the lane early in the third to score, Marquette would go nine trips with a lone field goal by Conlon off an offensive putback. If not for John’s bucket and a 3/4 performance from the free throw line, the game could have become much closer. After having their advantage cut to 11, Sam Ploeger hit a big 17-footer with under a minute to go to put his team up 40-36 after three periods.
The Vikings, coming off their first district title in school history in 2011-2012, would show the mark of a program with a lot of pride. A lone Conlon (John would finish with career highs in scoring-14 and a night that ranks in the school’s all-time greats in terms of rebounding with 18) field goal early in the fourth would be the only answer to a Parkway North offense which was heating up. The lead would be cut to as few as four with just under 4:00 to play before a Brooks Gerrity three-point play preceeded another late, successful Mustang run to the free throw line. Marquette would hit on 8/11 free throws to stave off the North comeback and extend the lead out to the final 61-50 margin.
Friday night features two headlines: The Jefferson City Jays come to Chesterfield to take on the Mustangs in a 7pm varsity tip and the West County Special Olympics team comes to Marquette for their annual exhibition contest to be played between the sophomore and varsity contests.
MHS Faculty Members honored this evening: Jason Rudolph, Matt DelPizzo, Jason Schneider, Cathy Chirco, Kevin Schultz, Adam Starling, Ruth Bontrager, Ed Shouse, Steve Mazzola, Ashley Porter, Gail Barth, Eva Johnston, Rob Durham, Jacob Stiglich & John Meyer.
Leading Scorers: Dillon Jones-18, John Conlon-14, Brooks Gerrity-11, Tanner Stabenow-8, Sam Ploeger-7. Leading Rebounders: Conlon-18, Stabenow-7. Leading Assists: Jones-4, Stabenow-4. HARD HAT AWARD WINNER: Dillon Jones
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