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Saturday, January 6th, 2007

Marion Local coasts its way to 4-0 record

By Randy Bruns

Marion Local's Damon Bertke, 34, tries to drive around a Delphos St. John's defe. . .

MARIA STEIN - As far as hot starts go, the Marion Local Flyers couldn't have scripted a better one than what they got in Friday night's battle with the St. John's Blue Jays.
The Flyers let loose a blitzkrieg on the Blue Jays in the game's first 16 minutes of action, and it was all coasting from there as the hosts pulled off a dominating 66-32 victory at the Hangar.
With the win, Marion goes to 4-0 overall and 1-0 in the Midwest Athletic Conference, while St. John's falls to 3-5 on the year and 0-2 in league play.
Things went so well for the Flyers that they scored before the opening tip, as a technical foul was issued to the Blue Jays on a scorebook snafu that led to an early 1-0 Flyer lead. The hosts didn't waste any time expanding on that advantage, as they pulled out to an 18-6 lead at the end of one period.
Then the second quarter began, and the Flyers really got things in gear.
The hosts got three straight three-balls from a trio of different players to start the second, and Chris Stucke followed with a pair of layups and another bomb to widen the Flyer bulge to 34-6.
The 16-0 run came in just under four minutes of action, and the Blue Jays were never the same thereafter. In all, Marion hit on 18 of the 30 shots it took in the half for a 60-percent success rate.
"We can be a good shooting team," said Marion coach Keith Westrick. "We shot the ball well all summer, but it didn't show up in the early games or in practice. I told the kids at halftime that the best thing was that we were scoring but we never got out of control. Almost every shot we took was in the realm of our transition game or our halfcourt offense. They were taking good shots and they got rewarded for it."
After the Flyers built a 44-16 halftime lead they were never threatened, as the Blue Jays struggled with a 33-percent shooting night.
The St. John's shooting woes were caused directly by Marion's aggressive 2-3 matchup zone, as the hosts dominated on the boards (33 to 19) and got to seemingly every loose ball.
"That's one thing you can always do," said Westrick of his team's scrappy play. "You put the uniform on and you represent the school, and you're going to have nights when your shot doesn't fall and you're not in sync but
there's no reason why you can't put 100 percent effort out there every night. That's something we tell them they owe the community and the fans, to bust their tails every night."
St. John's coach Doug Etgen thought his team lacked much of the tail-busting that Marion displayed.
"We didn't come out and play with intensity, even though we knew (Marion) would," said Etgen. "Obviously (Marion) shot the ball well, but I don't think we contested half of their shots, either. It's a Friday night in
January, and some of the guys don't seem to know what day of the week it
is."
Damon Bertke's seven-for-nine effort from the field helped him garner
high-scoring honors with 19 points, and Stucke contributed 10. Kazz Bryan led St. John's with 10 points.
Marion returns to action tonight against another team that will make the trip south on State Route 66, as the Spencerville Bearcats pay a visit to
the Hangar for a non-conference matchup.
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