LEMARS - The host Le Mars Gehlen Jays broke loose from an 8-8 tie after the first quarter with an explosive 18-2 scoring tear in the second quarter to stake out a convinving 26-10 halftime lead on the way to a 60-34 win over Marcus-Meriden-Cleghorn in boys War Eagle Conference action here Friday night.
Although the hustling Eagles of coach Pat Bird battled the Jays even at 12 points apiece in the third period, Gehlen ran away with it in the fourth frame with a 22-12 scoring advantage.
Neal Bunt led the meager MMC offense with nine points, and Will Hanson, saddled with foul trouble throughout, tallied six points.
Remarkably, Gehlen shot a whopping 36 free throws in the game, compared to just four for the MMC boys. Gehlen sank 16 free throws to just two for the Eagles.
Tyler Meyer paced the Jays in scoring with 23 points, and Taylor Wurth added nine.
"Will Hanson got in foul trouble early in the game and had to sit out much of the first half," noted MMC coach Bird. "He eventually fouled out early in the fourth period. Starter John Hoefling also fouled out in the fourth quarter.
"Gehlen played a tough man-to-man defense all night long and we did not respond well to it. Their press also caused us to turn the ball over many times. On offense they simply took it to us as can be seen by the free throw stats. We will have to rachet up our intensity when they come to Marcus in February."
The MMC boys play at Sergeant Bluff-Luton Friday night and at Storm Lake St, Mary's Saturday night.