Marietta High is seeking a better start this time when it plays at Frontier High in its first boys' basketball game of the new year at 7:30 p.m. Saturday night.
When the Tigers (4-4) hosted the Cougars at Sutton Gym on Dec. 11, 2012, they managed just one measly point on a Braden Riley freebie during the opening eight minutes of play and trailed the Roger Kirkpatrick-coached Cougars 8-1.
"It was scary there for a little bit," said MHS head coach J.D. Secrest after the Tigers' first win of the campaign. "I think we came out and pressed, and Frontier did a good job knocking down shots."
JORDAN HOLLAND The Marietta Times
Marietta High sophomore Corey Hill (45) gets ready to shoot as a Belpre player defends during a game at Sutton Gym on Dec. 27. The Tigers won to even their overall record at 4-4. Hill, who began the season on the MHS junior varsity team, has emerged as a varsity starter. The Tigers are scheduled to play at Frontier in a non-conference game Saturday night.
Marietta got on track in the second quarter, scoring 15 unanswered points to lead 16-8 - and never looked back. At the intermission, the Tigers owned a double-digit advantage, 24-12, and at the finish of the game, the scoreboard clock read 55-33.
"Our younger kids came off the bench in the second quarter and really gave a spark, and knocked in some shots," Secrest said.
One of those younger kids was 6-foot-1 sophomore Corey Hill, who earlier led the Tiger JVs to a 50-35 victory over Frontier with 14 points. In the varsity matchup, he scored a game-high 11 points.
"We know Corey is a shooter, and Frontier was in that zone," Secrest said after the game. "I knew I had him for two (varsity) quarters, and he responded."
Hill is now a full-time varsity starter, and MHS has won four of six games since beating Frontier. A win over the Cougars Saturday would put the Tigers over the .500 mark for the first time this season.
At Sutton Gym this winter, the orange and black own a 4-1 mark. In Marietta's last game before New Year's Day on Dec. 27, 2012, it evened its overall record with a 64-51 triumph over visiting Belpre. Hill tallied a game- and varsity career-high 23 points. Five-eight senior point Jordan Satterfield added 11 markers, 6-5 Riley had 10, 6-5 Billy Weekly netted eight, and 6-2 Adam McKnight chipped in with six on two threes.
Frontier (2-6) is coming off a 53-45 setback to Waterford in a non-conference boys' contest in New Matamoras last Friday night. The Cougars, who are 2-6 on the season, were paced by 5-11 Jordan Jefferson and 5-8 Drew Schneider, who scored 16 and 13 points, respectively.
Against Marietta in December, Jefferson, with 10 points, was the only Cougar cager to achieve double digits.
Against Marietta, Frontier is also expected to start Eddie Salazar, Taylor Merckle, and Cole Farley.
at Fort Frye
Both Waterford's and Fort Frye's boys get to start off the new year with back-to-back games this weekend.
At 7:30 p.m. Friday, the Tom Simms-coached Wildcats (4-1) ard Eric Henniger-led Cadets (2-5) are each home against league opponents' Federal Hocking and Buckeye Trail, respectively.
Then, at the same time on Saturday night, it's the "Battle of the Muskingum River," as Waterford makes the short trek across to bridge to Beverly to face arch-rival Fort Frye.
Waterford has gotten off to a good start. Before the Federal Hocking game, the Wildcats closed out 2012 with a 53-45 win at Frontier. Austin Shriver led the way with 17 points and sophomore Tanner Pottmeyer chipped in with 11.
Some other Cats to keep an eye on will be Eli Strahler, Brian Moore, Wyatt Porter, Cody Paxton, and Austin Bauerbach.
Fort Frye closed out last year with a game on Dec. 29 against Class AAA Parkersburg South in the Ohio River Classic at Marietta College's Ban Johnson Arena. The Cadets dropped a 65-52 decision, but were a handful for the Patriots.
Shon Smith scored a game-high 24 points to lead the Fort. Chandler Lang and Seth Lagraen added 13 and 12 points, respectively.
Some other Cadets to keep an eye on will be Caden Brooker, Tyler Norris, and Carter Keifer.
Warren at Belpre
Warren and Belpre are also playing back-to-back games this weekend.
At 7:30 p.m. Friday, the Blane Maddox-coached Warriors (6-1) will be hosting the Chillicothe Cavaliers (2-7) in a Southeastern Ohio Athletic League game, while at the same time, same day, the Jordan Thornhill-led Golden Eagles (3-5) will be entertaining the Trimble Tomcats in a Tri-Valley Conference matchup. Then, on Saturday night with a varsity tip-off time of 7:30, Warren and Belpre will square off at the Eagles Nest.
Warren got back on the winning track with a triumph over Logan Wednesday night, and handed Maddox career win No. 200 in the process. In its previous game on Dec. 29, 2012, the Warriors suffered their first setback of the winter, dropping a 69-47 decision to Upper Arlington in the Ohio River Classic at Marietta College's Ban Johnson Arena. Against Chillicothe and Belpre, the probable Warrior starters will be Evan French, Reece Patton, Evan Yabs, Danny Pannell, and Michael Hall.
Chillicothe has been struggling of late, falling twice to West Holmes 59-51 and to Sugarcreek Garaway 55-29 in the Quaker Invitational at New Philadelphia High.
The Cavs are paced by Zach Johnson, who had 19 points against West Holmes. Some other Cavs who will see court action will be Tommy Bolte, Adam Bixler, Nolan Taylor, Nate Rosenberger and Tim Beard.
Belpre closed out 2012 with a 56-52 defeat to River Valley in the Ohio River Classic at BJA on Dec. 28.
Some of the Eagles' top guns are Nick Therriault, Austin Forshey, Bryce Pittenger, and Dakota Hoffman.