Boys basketball: Marauders hold off Panthers, 44-41

Boys basketball: Marauders hold off Panthers, 44-41

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Boys basketball: Marauders hold off Panthers, 44-41

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In a coach’s mind, everything goes according to planned coming out of a timeout where as many hypotheticals that can be covered are discussed.

Faced with two opportunities to hit a tying 3-pointer after Maclay missed two one-and-one free throw chances, the John Paul II boys basketball team just couldn’t find a way to get a final comeback basket.

The Panthers stormed back from a 16-point deficit in the third quarter, but the Marauders held on for the narrow 44-41 victory. Both teams only scored six points in the final quarter.

“We made a struggle of it offensively,” Maclay coach Mike McGrotha said. “We missed a lot of foul shots, but my kids played hard tonight. We’ve been in a little bit of a slump, and JPII is a good basketball team that showed a lot of heart coming back, but I’m proud of my kids. It’s definitely going to be a process this year with our inexperience.”

Coming out of a timeout with 13 seconds left, JPII (3-5) got a wide open look at the top of the key, but it did not fall. A similar setup nine seconds later also was off the mark, but those are the types of situations Panthers coach Anthony Van Gessel wants his team to be in.

“We’ll play this team at least one more time, probably two in the district tournament,” he said. “This was a good first look at them and I’m very confident we can play with them in the future.”

Maclay (2-4) jumped out to a 10-point halftime lead, capitalizing on JPII’s 15 first-half turnovers by knocking down open 3-point looks and getting out in transition.

Justin Ghazvini scored seven of his game-high 12 points in the first half, while Kyle McWilliams hit a 3 in each of the first two quarters off the bench on his way to a 10-point night.

And then momentum shifted.

“We weren’t being very aggressive in the first half on the press break,” Van Gessel said.

“In the second half, we tried to break it and score off it. And we took them out of it, which we were happy about.”

The Panthers successfully navigated a three-quarters court pressing defense from the Marauders to create easy baskets and gain seven points in a 19-point third quarter. Marshall Moyle led JPII with eight points and 12 rebounds while finding teammates on the break to dish out four assists.

“We played terrible defense in the first half,” Van Gessel said.

“These guys really committed to rebounding and playing more controlled offense. That helped us get back in the game.”

Houston Palmer scored eight and point guard Frank Tracy turned in an all-around game of seven points, five rebounds, three assists and two steal.

But JPII couldn’t quite muster enough at the end. Jarred Sanders scored nine points and Rhyse Boeneke chipped in with eight for Maclay.

“We attacked pretty well,” McGrotha said.

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