Friday, December 28th, 2012
By Randy Bruns
Free throws help Flyers pull away in last quarter
  MARIA STEIN - Five nights after a forgettable performance, the Marion Local Flyers' boys basketball team got back on track Thursday night with an impressive 52-37 victory over the Wapakoneta Redskins in a rescheduled game at The Hangar.
The Flyers (2-1) looked lackluster in dropping a 46-34 clunker to St. Marys last Saturday, but on this night they steadily built their lead in every quarter and sealed the deal down the stretch with some deadeye free-throw shooting.
This one certainly wasn't an offensive showcase in the first half. The two teams combined for a 30-percent shooting effort in the first two quarters and the Flyers clung to a 17-15 lead at the halftime break.
Wapakoneta's Alex Greve quickly tied the score with a jumper early in the third quarter, but it would prove to be the last bucket by the Redskins (5-3) for a while. Adam Bertke countered with a three-pointer to regain the lead for the Flyers and the junior later ended an 11-0 run for the hosts when he nailed a jumper from the wing.
The Redskins battled back and later pulled to within seven points midway through the final frame, but when the Flyers displayed patience in their flex offense, the visitors were forced to foul. Though they normally aren't marksmen from the charity stripe, the Flyers came through when it counted and hit 15-of-16 down the stretch to hold the Redskins at bay.
"I was thrilled," commented Marion Local's coach Kurt Goettemoeller of his team's free-throw shooting prowess. "We haven't been a good free-throw shooting team for the past couple of years. We have good shooters capable of knocking down shots, and it's a confidence thing. One guy made his free throws and then we just started stringing them together. We ended the night 20-for-25 which is an excellent way to close out the game."
Wapakoneta's coach Matt Bradley thought that his team simply got out-worked by Marion.
"Marion Local played really well tonight," stated Bradley. "I thought they were the aggressor and they played harder than we did. I think the statistics are going to show that as far as rebounding goes, they killed us at the free-throw line and they dominated they paint. All the things that we want to try to do, they did tonight."
The Flyers were led in scoring by Bertke, who scored 13 points after sitting out last week's game with an injury.
"Certainly we didn't play very well last week against St. Marys and a lot of the credit goes to them," admitted Goettemoeller. "You don't want to make excuses, but we really missed Adam. Having him back was a huge lift for us tonight and for him to play so well after just one day of practice was great to see."
Dustin Rethman joined Bertke in double digits for the Flyers with 11 points while Jake Buzzard paced the Redskins with a game-high 16 points.
Marion will return to action on Saturday night when it travels to Shawnee to take on the Indians.
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• Employees to get pay hike
• Mercer County unemployment rate remains lowest in state
• Short-handed Celina picks up road victory over rival Coldwater
• Redskins' quick start leads to a blowout
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