Prep boys basketball: Marietta falls to Devils

The Marietta Tigers hung with Zanesville for as long as they could Friday night, but eventually, Zanesville’s speed and athleticism took over as the Blue Devils pulled away for a 75-43 victory at Sutton Gym.

“They’re just quicker than us, one through five,” said Marietta head coach J.D. Secrest. “That’s the bottom line. They exploited that. We hung with them for a quarter or so, and they just smelled a little blood and went after the ball.”

Zanesville, now 18-3, held the advantage in just about every statistical category in the game. The Blue Devils shot 27-for-54 (50 percent) from the floor, grabbed 29 rebounds and committed 12 turnovers. Marietta, on the other hand, shot 16-for-48 (33 percent), had 18 boards and turned it over 19 times.

“Recently, we’ve worked a lot on offensive execution,” said Zanesville head coach Scott Aronhalt. “We knew Marietta was gonna play a lot of zone. I thought we were pretty well-prepared. The guys just did a great job.”

The turning point in the contest came midway through the second quarter. After a 3-pointer from Corey Hill on an assist from Cameron Benson cut Zanesville’s lead to 21-15, Marietta would not score another point in the half as the Blue Devils went on a 13-0 run to go up 34-15 at the break.

“We’re still pretty weak with the basketball,” Secrest said. “They took advantage of that. They got a lot of easy steals and a lot of easy baskets there in the second quarter and gave themselves a cushion.”

In the third quarter, a 3-pointer from Adam McKnight made it 41-24, but Zanesville used an 8-0 run to make it a 25-point game.

McKnight led the Tigers with 15 points and six rebounds. Hill joined McKnight in double figures with 10. Zanesville was led by Granger Long’s 13 points. Six other Blue Devils had at least six points in the contest as Zanesville did a nice job of spreading the ball around.

“In the tournament, you’re not going to win with five guys,” Aronhalt said. “You’ve got to be able to go six, seven, eight deep.”

Zanesville’s Malik Bocook opened the game with a basket, but a jumper from Marietta’s Braden Riley tied it up at 2-2. Jake Phillips hit from downtown for the Blue Devils followed by another bucket from Bocook to put Zanesville up 7-2. McKnight then came through with back-to-back buckets for the Tigers to make it a one-point game. After Bocook hit a pair from the foul line, Riley assisted Hill on layup to make the score 9-8 in favor of Zanesville.

Zanesville got consecutive layups from Long and Marcus Johnson before a basket by Riley cut the deficit to 13-10. Zanesville would score the next eight points leading into the second quarter before a reverse-layup by Riley made it 21-12. After Hill’s 3-pointer made it 21-15, it was all Zanesville.

“I was proud of the way the kids competed tonight for 32 minutes,” Secrest said. “We took positives out of this.”

With the loss, Marietta dropped to 7-14 overall on the season and will look to rebound tonight on the road against New Philadelphia. It will be the Tigers’ final regular season game.