MARCUS - Fresh on the heels of their stunning State Championship run in football, the Marcus-Meriden-Cleghorn boys had little time to cut the corners off the football and ascend into the round ball world, but they did in thrilling fashion here last week, beating War Eagle Conference nemesis Le Mars Gehlen 47-46 in overtime to kick-start the new basketball season.
Michael Whitehead and Aaron Jentz led the balanced Le Mars Gehlen attack with 11 points each, followed by Alex Kellen 10, and Blake Wiltgen nine. Colton Kneip paced the Jays on the boards with 10 rebounds, while Whitehead grabbed nine, and Kellen six.
The Eagles sank a frigid 17-66 field goals for just 26 percent, a true reflection of the many practices they missed in the gym while excelling out on the football field. MMC canned 5-15 free throws.
Gehlen meshed 20-48 shots for 42 percent, and was 3-7 from the foul line.
MMC led 12-6 after the first quarter, 21-18 at halftime, and 39-28 after three frames, before Gehlen went on a 12-2 scoring run in the fourth to force the OT with the score knotted at 40-40. The Eagles then outscored the Jays 7-6 in the OT to win the game.
"I was really proud of how are kids battled tonight," offered MMC coach Mark Fisher. "Did we play a clean game? No. We had far too many turnovers and didn't rebound as well we want. But we battled our tails off all game, played pretty well defensively and made plays when we needed to.
"Even giving up the big lead, our kids never got done and continued to play hard and make plays, and I can't say enough about that. It's big to grit out a tough win and show that you know how to win."
The MMC squads play Trinity Christian in Hull Thursday night.