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COLUMBIA CITY — Marion, a boys’ basketball team that averages 70 points a game, was held to 52 by Columbia City Saturday night. However, the Eagles were unable to convert on the offensive end losing 52-38.
Marion’s speed and high pressure defense forced 19 turnovers, causing the Eagles to miss out on scoring opportunities.
“When you have 19 turnovers in a game like that, it’s going to be hard to come out on top,” Columbia City head coach Chris Benedict said.
Marion’s six-foot-eight-inch Devin Weatherly drew first blood in the game with four points in less than a minute for Marion, helping them to a 13-11 lead at the end of the first quarter.
Weatherly not only posed an offensive threat, but was a force inside defensively as well with a two-inch height advantage over Columbia City’s Tyler Mosher.
But Mosher wouldn’t let that stop him, scoring a basket early in the second quarter to give the Eagles their biggest lead of the game 15-13.
“Tyler did a good job of keeping him (Weatherly) off the offensive glass,” coach Benedict said.
The Giants were scoreless in the first three minutes of the second quarter but the Eagles were unable to capitalize offensively with five scoreless minutes as well.
“I was pretty pleased with our defensive effort in the first half,” coach Benedict said.
With the halftime score at 20-16, Drew Benedict knew he needed to put some points on the board.
After a quick basket by Weatherly, Benedict shot a long two-pointer with a foot on the three-point line.
With 5:45 left in the third, Mosher came up with an offensive rebound and kicked it out to Benedict for a long three bringing the deficit to three.
Jared Murphy came in as a defensive spark for the Eagles with three steals in the third quarter.
“Jared Murphy really turned things up for us on the defensive end,” coach Benedict said.
Murphy added a basket with 37.2 seconds left in the third quarter to bring the deficit to 31-30 for the Eagles.
But Marion again kicked up their defensive pressure, leaving Columbia City scoreless for the first 4:33 of the fourth quarter.
“It was a difficult game to play through,” coach Benedict said. “Their willingness to go after loose balls and work inside wore on us as the game went on.”
Daniel Woll and Drew Benedict were the only scorers in the fourth quarter, as the Eagles scored eight in the final eight minutes.
“We kept putting ourselves in a position where it was getting harder and harder on ourselves, every time we missed a shot, it puts more pressure on the next one,” coach Benedict said.
While the Eagles weren’t able to find the basket, Weatherly scored six consecutive points and Marion scored 21 as a team in the fourth quarter.
“Once you get down a little bit, you have to get out of your scheme of what you want to do defensively,” Coach Benedict said.
“It wasn’t one of our better quarters, but hopefully we’ll rebound next week.”
In the junior varsity match, the Eagles fell 44-37 to Marion, despite Greg Bockelman’s 14 points.
After being down 10-6 in the first quarter, Columbia City doubled Marion’s scoring in the second quarter, giving the Eagles a 22-18 at halftime.
But the Giants came out of the locker room outscoring the Eagles 12-2 in the third quarter, giving Columbia City a mountain too big to climb.