Tigers triumph: MHS boys beat Frontier 61-38, improve to 5-4

NEW MATAMORAS – Don’t look now, but the Marietta Tigers appear to be coming into their own, defeating Frontier 61-38 in New Matamoras Friday night to improve to 5-4 on the season.

After dropping its first two games of the season in ugly fashion, Marietta has won five of its last seven and is gaining confidence.

“We’re entering the second half of the season here next week and we get to see some of these teams for a second time,” said Marietta head coach J.D. Secrest. “Our goal is to show these teams we played the first time how much we’ve improved.

“The kids are getting more experience. We’re getting close to the point where the inexperience isn’t an excuse anymore. We’re really just proud of the way the kids have hung in and fought back.

Offensively, the Tigers have scored at least 60 points in each of their last three contests after scoring just 60 points combined in their first two games against Claymont and Zanesville.

“It’s tough to key on one person,” Secrest said of the team’s well-balanced offensive attack. “Adam (McKnight) and Corey (Hill) can shoot real good from outside. I think this is (Braden Riley’s) third or fourth game in double figures. He’s starting to become more of a post factor. If we can get that inside it forces defense to pack in a little bit which gives Corey, Adam and Jordan (Satterfield) some more open looks. And I thought some of the guys off the bench gave us a spark.”

Joining Riley, who had 11 points, in the post was Billy Weekly , who notched a game-high 12 points.

Hill also hit double figures with 10 while Satterfield and McKnight each had seven.

Overall the Tigers were 22-for-46 (47 percent) from the floor on the night.

Frontier, who shot just 12-for-38 (31 percent), was led by Drew Schneider and Taylor Merckle, who each had eight points. Levi Cochran chipped in with six.

The Cougars took an early 5-3 lead after a 3-ball from Schneider and a pair of freebies from Jordan Jefferson. Marietta then rattled off seven straight points on layups by Weekly and Riley and a 3-pointer from McKnight to take a 10-5 lead. Merckle cut the lead to 10-8 on a layup and one play before a layup by Riley made it 12-8. The two would trade buckets again to make the score 14-10 going into the second quarter.

Frontier’s Eddie Salazar knocked down a trey to make it 14-13 to open up the second quarter, but McKnight answered with a 3 of his own from the top of the key to make it 17-13. On Marietta’s next possession, Satterfield made a nice feed to Cameron Benson under the basket for a layup. Satterfield led everyone with five assists.

Later in the quarter, Riley made a strong take to the basket to extend the Tiger lead to 32-22. Riley continued to impress coming out of halftime with a breakaway dunk on a steal from Satterfield to make it 38-28. The dunk sparked a Marietta rally, as the Tigers would score eight straight points before a free throw by Frontier’s Dylan O’Neal made it 46-29.

Riley posted a double-double in the contest with 11 rebounds to go along with his 11 points, and also had five steals.

“I just really thought we were all playing well as a team,” Riley said. “We really came together tonight. We came in looking to pound it inside. I think we did a pretty decent job of that tonight.”

After an O’Neal layup and a free throw from Rodney Barnes cut the Tiger lead to 46-32, Satterfield delivered the dagger with a 3-pointer on the ensuing possession to give Marietta a 49-32 advantage.

“We played hard,” Secrest said. “We knew we could wear them down. We just kept throwing different types of pressures at them. Our guys really got after it and there in the second half we were able to get some clutch steals and get ourselves easy looks.”

Turnovers were a big key in the game, as Frontier committed 23, while the Tigers had just 10. Marietta also held a 24-13 edge in rebounding.

The Tigers are back in action Tuesday when they go on the road to face Meadowbrook. The Cougars, now 2-7, are also on the road Tueday as they will face Fort Frye in a Pioneer Valley Conference matchup.