Tough night: Marietta boys drop 73-45 decision to Claymont

As well as the Marietta High boys’ basketball team has been playing, the Claymont Mustangs were just too much Friday night as the Tigers fell 73-45 in the ECOL matchup at Sutton Gymnasium.

After starting the season 2-4, the Tigers reeled off three straight victories before falling to Meadowbrook 53-51 Tuesday night, and now find themselves amidst a two game losing streak.

“We played hard, we just kind of hit a buzz saw tonight,” said Marietta head coach J.D. Secrest. “They came out early and took care of business.”

Claymont shot an impressive 31-of-58 (53 percent) from the floor, but it was the Mustang defense that impressed head coach Scott Doak.

“Our heart and soul, so to speak, is our halfcourt defense,” Doak said. “We think we’re pretty quick and athletic. Tonight it all clicked for us.”

Claymont forced 25 turnovers in the game and held the Tigers to just 13 shot attempts in the second half. Dylan Sterling poured in a game-high 24 points for the Mustangs, while Taylor Wise also had a big game with 20. Blake Albaugh led the way for the well-balanced offensive attack by dishing out 10 assists, tops in the contest.

“That’s the best game we’ve played all year for four quarters,” Doak said. “I thought we played real well together.”

Marietta shot well in its own right, nailing 47 percent of its attempts. Problem was, the Tigers only had 34 attempts in the game against Claymont’s tenacious defense.

Cameron Benson led the Tigers with 10 points and three assists. Adam McKnight was next for Marietta with six points on a pair of 3-pointers.

After Sterling opened the game with a layup for Claymont, Braden Riley responded with back-to-back buckets to give Marietta a 4-2 lead. Claymont then went on an 8-0 run, six of those points coming from Wise, to make it 10-4. Jonathon Wood answered with a layup to make it 10-6.

After Sterling scored five straight points to extend the lead to 15-6, Benson hit a layup to make it 15-8. Dallas Clarke put in a layup before McKnight drained a 3-ball on an assist from Benson to cut it to 17-11. The teams would trade buckets to make it 19-13 at the end of one quarter.

The second quarter was where it got ugly for Marietta as Claymont scored 15 unanswered points to go up 34-13. A Benson 3-pointer and a Weekly layup made it 34-19, and after a free throw from Kohltin Miles, Zach LaBarre banked in a 3-pointer at the buzzer to make it 35-22 at the half.

Coming out of the break McKnight and Hill each hit a trey to make it a 39-30 Claymont advantage. After a pair of free throws for Wise and a layup for Miles, Benson converted a three point play to make it 43-33. The Mustangs brought it back to a 15 point lead with a layup from Sterling and a trey from Miles. Riley would hit a free throw and John Henry would connect from long range to make it 48-37, but that is as close as the Tigers would get, as Claymont would close the game on a 25-8 run.

The Mustangs improved to 7-5 overall and 5-2 in the ECOL, while Marietta fell to 5-6 overall and 1-5 in the conference.

“We knew they were a tough matchup for us,” Secrest said. “They’re guard-oriented. They’re quick. If our zone wasn’t effective and we had to pick up man-to-man, we were gonna have problems, and that’s what happened. They got a lot of good looks by exploiting their quickness.”

The Tigers are back in action today when they host another league matchup against New Philadelphia. Claymont is on the road again Tuesday when it faces Tuscarawas Valley.