Saturday, January 9th, 2010
By Randy Bruns
Flyers give Redskins their first loss
MARIA STEIN - Everybody knows that in rivalry games the records get thrown out the window, but in Friday's battle between the Marion Local Flyers and the St. Henry Redskins, all conventional wisdom got tossed out as well.
The Flyers scored a major early-season upset and took an important step in turning their season around with a 72-59 thumping of the previously undefeated Redskins at The Hangar.
Marion improves to 2-4 on the year and 1-1 in the Midwest Athletic Conference while St. Henry falls to 6-1 overall and 1-1 in league play.
The Flyers came into the game averaging just over 47 points per contest, but they got into an up-tempo mode from the start and the result was a consistent offensive effort.
Adam Schulze drained a three-ball to give the Flyers the lead for good late in the first quarter, and fellow senior Travis Winner added to the lead with a stickback before the buzzer.
Jarren Griesdorn started the second quarter off with a bang when he converted a steal into a layup and followed with a trifecta to put the hosts up 21-12. St. Henry couldn't stop the bleeding the rest of the half, and it went into the locker room at halftime down 37-29.
After flying up and down the court in the first half, both squads got bogged down in the third quarter. The Redskins in particular struggled mightily, as they didn't make a single field goal and were outscored 10-3 in the period.
The Flyers kept attacking in the fourth quarter and built a lead as large as 18 points on several occasions. The Redskins didn't quit and finally caught fire from behind the three-point arc, but it was too little, too late, as the Flyers canned their free throws down the stretch.
"We had a two-week stretch over the Christmas break and you could kind of see the basketball skills develop," said Marion coach Keith Westrick. "A couple players have shot the ball with confidence this year, but not the entire team. We got some momentum in the first quarter tonight and got our confidence up, and that was a big stride for us."
St. Henry first-year head coach Eric Rosenbeck, who absorbed the first loss in his young coaching career, could only tip his hat to the Flyers after the game.
"Give credit to Marion because they came out in a hard man-to-man defense," said Rosenbeck. "They didn't play their normal 2-3 zone and we didn't react very well. Our goal is to try to get to the middle of the lane and get mismatches, but every time we got in there it led to a turnover. Then we got a little gun-shy and started putting up too many three-pointers."
Westrick was pleased that his defense was able to contain a team with so many playmakers on the floor.
"They've got good penetrators, and everybody they put on the floor can penetrate," said Westrick. "I thought we were able to extend them out and I give my post players a lot of credit because when you extend like that, you leave your block exposed. We played much better inside defense than we have all year."
Marion was led in scoring by a trio of seniors, as Winner and Schulze each finished with 15 and Brian Heitkamp added 14. Interestingly, all of Schulze's points came in the first half while Heitkamp saved his best for last and scored all of his markers in the fourth quarter. The Flyers were also deadly from the foul line, as they finished 21-for-25 which equates to 84 percent.
Jason Westgerdes paced the Redskins with 20 points while Vic Fortkamp chipped in with 11.
Marion gets a week off before continuing its MAC schedule next Friday at Versailles, while St. Henry will try to right its ship tonight when Celina comes calling at Redskin Gymnasium.
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