Series sweep: Warren boys beat Marietta a 2nd time, 67-47

VINCENT – Fresh off cracking the AP Top 10 in Division II boys’ basketball, the Warren Warriors proved they are worthy of the high praise by defeating Marietta 67-47 at “Warrior Coliseum” Tuesday night in Vincent to sweep the season series against the Tigers.

No. 10 Warren got good looks all night and took advantage, shooting 28-for-48 (58 percent) from the floor.

Reece Patton led the Warriors with 19 points and Michael Hall chipped in with 15.

“Michael Hall stepped up and had a wonderful all-around game,” said Warren head coach Blane Maddox. “Reece Patton knocked it down. Dylan (Leffingwell) stepped up. Somebody’s always stepping up so there’s not great pressure on one guy. It makes it so they can relax and let the game to them.”

Marietta also played well offensively, shooting 19-of-42 (45 percent) and causing havoc in the paint all night.

Corey Hill topped the Tigers with 16 points while Billy Weekly also hit double figures with 13.

“They did a great job of getting down in there,” Maddox said. “Down there, they’re a little bigger than we are. They did a good job there. They gave it a good shot. They played hard all the way through.”

Marietta head coach J.D. Secrest agreed and added “I think we played about as well as we can play. That’s a credit to Warren that they can still be able to come out on top like that. Our big guys stepped up tonight. We got a lot of points in the paint.”

The Tigers gave the Warriors all they could handle early on. Two three-point plays by Cameron Benson and Hill knotted things up at 8-8 midway through the opening period. Later, with Warren holding a 14-10 lead, Hill connected on a 3-pointer off an assist from John Henry to cut it to 14-13. Turnovers led to layups by Matt Drayer and Patton to make it 18-13 at the end of one. The Tigers committed nine turnovers in the first quarter and 20 in the game.

“We know pressure is gonna be a problem,” Secrest said. “That’s just how it is. We do our best. Tonight in certain spots they were able to get turnovers.”

Weekly found Hill open for a layup to start the second quarter, but a jumper by Patton and layup by Adam Lang put Warren up 22-15.

After Weekly took a dish from Benson and turned it into two points, Warren used baskets by Danny Pannell and Patton and a 3-ball from Hall to stretch the lead to 29-17. Hill would get fouled on a putback layup and convert the free throw to cut it to 29-20, but the Warriors went on a 9-1 run to close the half up 38-23.

Evan French, who put up 30 against Marietta in the previous contest, opened the second half with a basket. French would finish the game with 10 points.

Later, back-to-back layups by Patton stretched the Warrior advantage to 44-26. After Jonathan Wood made a layup, Hall hit a 3-pointer via an assist from Patton and then French laid one in to give Warren its largest lead of the game at 49-28.

Warren maintained the 21-point lead until Weekly hit three baskets in a row late in the third. Riley then made a 2-pointer followed by another bucket from Weekly to complete the 10-0 run and get the Tigers back in the contest at 53-42. That was as close as the orange and black could get, though, as Hall hit a mid-range jumper at the buzzer to make it 55-42 going into the final period.

Warren, which has already wrapped up the SEOAL championship and claimed the top seed in its district, is now 19-1 on the year and hosts Jackson Friday.

Marietta fell to 7-13 with the loss and will look to rebound at home against Zanesville Friday.

There is still the possibility that the two teams could meet up again in a sectional final. Next Tuesday, Marietta is scheduled to take on New Lexington (8-12) in a play-in game at Logan High School. Should the Tigers win, they would advance to face top-seeded Warren Saturday (Feb. 23). “Whatever we come up against,” Maddox said, “we’ll be ready for it and they will too.”