THE CITY REBORN FROM THE ASHES OF AMERICA'S MOST DISASTROUS FOREST FIRE
NEC Basketball - Marines Rain Down Threes To Sink Irish
One thing was for sure Tuesday night when Marinette hosted Freedom, the Marines would live or die by the three-pointer. From start to finish, the youthful Marines were firing from behind the arc. Luckily for them, the triples found the bottom of the net more often than not.
Sophomore center Jordan Wendt opened the game with a three from the top of the key. Freedom's Charlie Jadin hit a three of his own before Connor Nelson drained a triple. The Marines found themselves behind for the first time after a 6-0 Irish run. No matter, Wendt just nailed another three and put the Marines back on top, 12-11. Another three, this one from Jake Poetzl, put the Marines up 23-19 with just over 10 minutes to go in the half. The teams went on to exchange baskets until Nelson and Poetzl connected on back-to-back buckets in the lane, pushing the lead to 39-30. Freedom responded just before the break with a 6-0 run to cut the lead to 39-36. Nelson's late triple gave the Marines a 42-36 lead at halftime.
Nelson led the team at halftime with 17 points and his coach talked about the importance of his play, "The amazing thing about Connor tonight was that he was guarding their best player and putting up those points. It makes a huge difference for him and our team." Marine Head Coach Nick Semenas added, "If we can get a guy like Connor going, it opens up so much more, it doesn't allow them to double, it makes them hesitant to help on penetration."
Out of the break it was more of the same. Poetzl drilled a deep three before having to do it the old-fashioned way as he absorbed contact, finished the layup and sank the free throw. That energized Marinette as Poetzl connected again from behind the arc and Matt Wagner followed with another triple, adding to the lead, 55-41. The duo again hit back-to-back threes with nine minutes on the clock, Wagner first this time, stretching the lead to 64-47. Their first 20-point lead was opened when Tyler Fayta found his way into the score book with, you guessed it, a three. This put the lead at 71-51 and Marinette never let up. Nine Marines went on to score in the matchup, and their 16 made three-pointers helped them to an 85-63 win over the Irish.
"We're doing a better job defensively, we're making the extra effort. A lot of nights in this conference we tend to be slower, as far as foot-speed, than the other team, but we're bigger and we use that to our advantage. We threw in a 2-3 zone to keep them off-balance," said Coach Semenas.
Poetzl led the way for Marinette with 22 points, Nelson added 19 including 17 that came in the first half. Wendt finished with 14 points and Wagner pitched in with 12. Freedom's Charlie Jadin led the Irish with 17 points.
"This is a huge win for us. Freedom is a program, in my mind, we try to model ourselves after because year after year, they do the same thing, man-to-man defense with motion offense. Their guys all play hard, all play solid defense and all box out. From second grade all the way up they do that, and it doesn't matter what talent they have, they do the same thing every year and do it well," Coach Semenas said.