Two weeks ago, the Marshall boys’ basketball team fell just short in a pair of games that came down to the wire. This week, the Cardinals proved they’d learned from their close battles, emerging with a pair of victories in the final seconds.
“We have talked all year about being able to take care of the ball, do the little things that win close games, and playing hard,” said Marshall head coach Dan Denniston. “We have been able to execute down the stretch, and that is the difference in winning those close games.”
WIS. Heights 52
Two late free throws from Craig Ward proved to be the difference on Tuesday night in Wisconsin Heights. Ward’s game-high 21 points led the Cardinals in a tense battle against the Vanguards.
Neither side was able to hold any advantage for long. At the half, Marshall led by the narrowest of margins: 27-26. The close contest continued on as time wore down in the second half, ultimately leading to Ward’s game-clinching free throws.
Adding to Marshall’s point total were Cole Denniston and Reid Truschinski with 10 points apiece, followed by Tyler Chadwick with eight. Bryce Frank rounded out the scoring with five points.
The Cardinals then returned home on Friday to face the Wildcats of Belleville.
A tough second half doomed the Cardinals’ chances against Belleville.
After keeping it close in the first, Marshall trailed by a score of 25-23 at the half. Ward – who scored a game-high 28 points – did much of the damage for the Cardinals’ offense to keep the score close.
In the second half, Marshall was simply unable to keep up with a trio of Belleville scorers. The Wildcats had three players combine to score 47 points; the Cardinals – already down a starter with an illness – were unable to keep pace as the game’s conclusion came closer and closer.
Belleville ultimately dealt Marshall their second Capitol South loss of the season 67-55.
Behind Ward’s 28 points were Chadwick, who tacked on 10 rebounds in addition to 12 points, and Truschinski with eight. Luis Bello chipped in three points, while Frank and Michael Lutz rounded out the scoring with two points each.
Three days later, the Cardinals welcomed Martin Luther to Marshall High School
Martin Luther 67
For the second time in less than a week, Ward provided the game-winner for the Cardinals over the defending Division 3 state champions from Greendale Monday.
This time, it was a late three-pointer that sealed the deal for Marshall.
After leading 34-28 at the half, Marshall built a significant lead over Martin Luther. The Spartans used an effective inside game to chip away at the Cardinal lead, going ahead in the last handful of minutes.
It was then, with time running low that Ward put the Cardinals in front for good. Ward and Chadwick combined for a monster game, hitting eight of 15 shots from beyond the arc to score 53 points for the Cardinals. Chadwick added nine rebounds to his 25 points, while Ward tallied five assists to go along with his 28.
Truschinski tacked on 12 points, followed by Austin Kilian with two. Gus Timpel rounded out the scoring with one point.
Marshall, now 12-6 (4-2 Capitol South), will play its third straight home contest on Thursday welcoming Waterloo. Tip time at Marshall High School is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.