Tuesday, January 2nd, 2007
Flyers making it look easy on way to perfect 3-0 start
By Tom Hendrixson
MARIA STEIN - During the warm-ups at The Hangar on Saturday night the pregame music was skipping and cutting out until a new CD was inserted, but that was about the only thing that didn't go right for Marion Local as the Flyers won their third game in as many tries, beating Covington by a convincing 50-27 score.
The visiting Buccaneers, the defending Cross County Conference champs, came in with a 5-3 record, and featured Gene Studebaker but the visitors were about to get a lesson in the kind of defensive pressure Midwest Athletic Conference teams have come to expect.
Marion Local was leading 19-15 after the first two quarters play, but the Flyers' relentless defense limited the Buccs to only seven shots in the third quarter, and only one of those actually found the mark, helping the Blue and Gold to outscore their opponents 15-4 and take command of the game 34-19 by the end of the stanza.
"Covington is a good team," commented Flyer head coach Keith Westrick. "I was impressed with how our defense came out in the third quarter. This is only our third ballgame and this team seems to have a pretty good idea where the matchups are at all times. It just seems to get better and better, so tonight was definitely a positive step towards shutting down a team a little bit."
"You really have to give Marion credit. They play strong defense," said Buccaneers head coach Roger Craft. "They are very physical and coach Westrick does a great job of teaching defense. This is only their third game and they are really playing well.
"When you give up only 50 points and get beat by nearly 20. ...that's sort of Marion's style too," Craft added with a knowing smile and a shake of the head.
The first half was basically the Stucke/Studebaker show. Chris Stucke scored 11 of the Flyers' 19 first-half points while the Covington star guard hit all three treys while accounting for 11 of his team's 15 points over the first two quarters.
However that's all the scoring Studebaker would record as he went zero-for-three in the second half from three-point land (0-5 overall) and missed his only two free throws.
It was Marion Local's first weekend with back-to-back games, but any concern Westrick had about his team being in basketball shape didn't last long.
"I was a little concerned after the barn burner we had last night (Newton)," said Westrick. "We looked a little fatigued early, but then once the game really got going, it didn't look that way."
NOTE: The Marion Local athletic department released the dates of the makeup games from the cancellations in early December due to the football playoffs. The Flyers will host Versailles at home on Jan. 9 and Wapakoneta on Jan. 13, then be on the road for games at Elida on Feb. 12 and at Ottoville on Feb. 19.