Prep basketball: MHS girls rout Claymont

Lain Weppler’s layup a minute and 50 seconds into Wednesday night’s game between Marietta and Claymont put the Lady Tigers up 2-0.

They never looked back, as the orange black trailed not once from the opening tip-off to the final buzzer in a 61-39 victory over the Lady Mustangs at Sutton Gymnasium.

A balanced attack fueled Marietta on the offensive end while the defense forced Claymont into 25 turnovers.

Starr Johnson led Marietta with 13 points, Lain Weppler and Taylor Smith each had 11 and Brittany Deskins added 10.

“If we’re moving the ball and doing what we’re supposed to do, we’ve got five threats on the floor,” said Marietta head coach Mark Hannuksela. “Some nights the ball won’t go in for one of them, but you’ve got the other four connecting. We’ve got capable scorers.”

Midway through the opening period, Smith drove hard and finished a basket to put Marietta up 5-0. Tiffany Sunderlin answered on the other end with a bucket to give Claymont its first points of the game.

Later, a baseline jumper from Johnson was good to make the score 9-4, but Marija Cottis responded by drilling a 3-point attempt to make it a 2-point game.

After Weppler hit a free throw, Madison Stubbins made a layup to cut it to one at 10-9. The Tigers then scored the next 13 points of the game to build their advantage to 23-9 early in the second quarter. Four Claymont turnovers led to nine Marietta points at the end of the first.

“We had that one little stretch where we threw a press at them there before the end of the first quarter and got three or four steals in a row,” Hannuksela said. “It didn’t break the game open but it extended a three or four point game to about 12 to 15, so it gave us a little bit of a comfort zone.

“When you play well defensively, you give yourselves a chance to score.”

In the second period, three 2-point baskets by Deskins and a jumper by Weppler made it 33-14 before Johnson scored three points to close the half with Marietta up 20, 36-16.

Smith scored six of the Tigers’ first eight points of the second half to keep the lead in the 20s and halt any hopes of a comeback for the Mustangs.

“I think we’re playing hard. I think we’re playing with a lot of energy,” Hannuksela said.

“You can tell they enjoy playing together, and I’m thrilled about that.”

Marietta (9-3, 5-2) made good on 27-of-66 (41 percent) shot attempts in the contest and held Claymont to just 14-for-48 (29 percent) shooting. The Tigers also held a 33-30 advantage on the glass, with Johnson leading the way with eight rebounds. Weppler and Alle Moore chipped in with seven and six boards, respectively, while Deskins recorded a game-high five assists.

“I really like the progress we’re making,” Hannuksela remarked. “I hope they stay as enthused as they are, because if they do, then good things are in store for them.”

The Mustangs were led by Caitlin Clarke’s 10 markers.

Following a dominant East Central Ohio League victory Wednesday, Marietta will travel to Fairland Saturday where it will play Chesapeake in a weekend tournament.