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Eureka Too Much for the Mustangs in Season Finale
February 26, 2013Marquette Mustang Basketball
When the game is boiled down to its simplest elements, the ability to put the ball into the basket is the one thread of a basketball game that when done well (or poorly) is often too much to overcome. That element was everything as Eureka rode a huge start in the district semi-finals to withstand a gritty Mustang effort that came up short in a 63-53 defeat.
When the two co-champs of the Suburban West met three weeks ago, the Wildcats were able to make a 17-1 first quarter lead hold up in a game that saw MHS actually claw back and take a four-point lead in the third quarter. An eerily similar beginning tonight at Marquette took pace as the Mustangs missed their first three shots and nine of their first ten attempts (the lone make a driving lay-in by Tanner Stabenow) to watch Eureka shoot out in front 12-2. Single free throws by Chris Lenzen and Matt Hink were followed at the end of the period by a three-point play by Dillon Jones to make the score a respectable 14-7 after a quarter.
Marquette pulled to within 16-11 after a gyrating, English-spun layup by Jones fell through but three more empty possessions allowed the Wildcats to stretch the lead out to 20-11 midway through the second. Senior John Conlon played a key role in a mini-run for the Mustangs as the senior forward nailed a lay-in off a Lenzen feed and a nifty turn-around in traffic a possession later. When Brooks Gerrity hit a three (one of only four on the night for MHS on 4/23 shooting beyond the arc), Marquette had cut the lead to 25-18. Eureka, taking advantage of difficult matchups all over the court for MHS used them to their advantage by stretching the lead out to 35-21 after a difficult, traditional three-point play by Matt Hink before Gerrity nailed a buzzer-beating three to cut the lead to 11 heading into intermission.
The third was a solid one for Marquette but only being able to trim three points off the lead was making any hopes of coming back slimmer and slimmer. While Marquette shot a respectable 4/9 from inside the arc and got to the free throw line nine times in the quarter (only going 5/9), the dearth of shooting from long-range was beginning to take its toll. Another six attempts went awry as the Wildcats led it 45-37 heading into the final quarter.
After Dillon Jones hit one of his two fourth quarter threes to begin the quarter, Marquette trailed it only 45-40. A three-possession stretch with buckets by Jones, Hink and Hink again (Matt would wind down a prolific career with a 19 point, 14 rebound effort) was fruitless though as Eureka was on its offensive game. When Jones hit his second three the lead was cut to amazingly enough three scant points. Unfortunately, the Eureka squad was up to the challenge. Both of Dillon’s threes were immediately matched on the other end by Wildcat marksmen as Dillon’s field goal proved to be the final one for a Marquette squad long on effort but short on range for the evening (MHS would miss its final eight shots to finish 17/55 overall for the evening) as a successful co-conference championship season came to an end in the district semis and an 18-8 record for the 2012-2013 campaign.
Leading Scorers: Matt Hink-19, Dillon Jones-15, Brooks Gerrity-8. Leading Rebounders: Hink-14, Chris Lenzen-6. Leading Assists: Lenzen-5.
Seniors donning the Navy & Kelly for the final time: John Conlon, Matt Hink, Dillon Jones, Chris Lenzen, Sam Ploeger, Max Sidney &Tanner Stabenow. Senior managers for the Mustangs: Grace Condon & Kaitlin Reuther.
For game stats-click HERE