Flyers Skip Wildcats |  Daily Standard Stories

Flyers Skip Wildcats | Daily Standard Stories

Wednesday, December 28, 2022

Written by Colin Foster

Photo by Nick Winning/The Daily Standard

Tate Hess of Marion Local, right, and Cole Richard of Minster chase a loose ball during the MAC boys’ basketball game on Tuesday at Wildcat Gymnasium in Minster.

Minster – Minster held a 10-point lead over Marion Local during the first quarter on Tuesday night.

The pilots slowly but surely fixed that.

Marion Local beat Minster 20-6 in the second quarter and pulled away to a 56-41 win in the Midwest Athletic Conference opener. The Flyers (3-1) have won three of four to start the season, their only loss coming at the hands of Saint Mary’s last week.

“First and foremost a lot of credit to (Minster coach) Mike (McLurg) and Sons,” said local Marion coach Kurt Guttemoeller. “I think Mike’s doing a great job. They blew us away in the first quarter. I definitely warned our kids that when you’re on the road in this league, you have to buckle up. Not ready in the first quarter, and a lot of the credit goes to them.”

“At least we responded. We got a lead of half,” he added. “We played a good third quarter. We didn’t handle the pressure very well in the fourth quarter, but we’re still relatively small in certain positions. We’ve got a lot of learning to do.”

The contest featured 43 errors and nearly as many turnovers as well. The Wildcats (2-6, 0-2 MAC) were feisty all night defensively, but couldn’t do it offensively, shooting just 36% compared to Marion’s 50%.

Cole Richard scored six of his team’s career-high 15 points in the first quarter, leading Minster to a 10-point lead with two minutes left. Marion committed six turnovers and trailed 16-8 after one snap.

“Those first eight minutes were the best we’ve played defensively all year,” said Minster manager Michael McClurg. “That translated into some points on the offensive end. We shot it well and shared it.”

But the Flyers later tied the score at 20-all on a free throw by Knapke before taking the lead on a steal and layup by Tate Hess. The Flyers held a 28-22 advantage at the half.

Photo by Nick Winning/The Daily Standard

Marion Local’s Brandon Aink (15) guarded by Minster Cole McClurg.

“At some point, you don’t really worry about the outcome,” Gottemoeller said. “You’re just worried about being competitive and playing well. Once we got through the first quarter, I thought we did a much better job of just playing hard.”

Knapke’s 3-point game gave Marion a double-digit lead two minutes into the third quarter. The turnovers piled up and the shots didn’t fall on Minster, who didn’t get eight points for the duration of the second half. Knapke capped off his 16-point night with a dunk in the fourth frame.

“Honestly, I think they wore us down as the game went on,” McClurg said. “They kept bringing in players and more and more pressure, and we were less and less willing to score as the game went on.”

Hess had 14 points for Marion. Jaden Mechier added 10. Austin Nykamp finished with 11 rebounds.

Kohl Albers grabbed six rebounds for the Minster team.

Both teams will be back at it tonight. Marion Local heads to The Mansion in Coldwater to play the Asset Allocation Associates Holiday Classic against Selena At about 7:30 p.m. Minster heads to Heckman Gymnasium in Ottoville to take on the Big Green.

Photo by Nick Winning/The Daily Standard

Minster Cole Albers climbs up for a photo.

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