Prep boys basketball: Tigers suffer 1st loss

DOVER – Defense was the name of the game for the Dover Tornadoes on Friday night as they scrapped their way to a 55-31 triumph over the Mark Duckworth-coached Marietta Tigers in an early season East Central Ohio League boys basketball battle.

The setback was Marietta’s first of the season.

Facing a much taller Tiger squad, the Tornadoes were able to dominate the boards by a 25-14 margin as Dover hustled relentlessly in the paint.

The game started slow for both teams as the score was tied at three with just over five minutes to play in the first quarter. However, Dover’s Cory Contini scored five straight points to get things rolling for the Tornadoes and give Dover an 8-3 lead that it would never relinquish.

Dover would score the next 17 points to increase their lead to 20-3, holding Marietta without a field goal for nearly a ten minute stretch before halftime.

“I thought our kids did a great job of recognizing what they were running and collapsing down in the paint and not giving them much room to operate.” said Tornado head coach Bob Von Kaenel. “We have to do that every game that we are out-sized.”

Dover displayed a tough, in-your-face defense, which seemed to rattle the Tigers.

So much so, that things began to heat up physically in the second period, as Marietta layed some hard fouls on Dover, with one leading to a technical on the Tigers’ Connor Beavers, which got the Tornado crowd in to the game.

Dover would methodically pull away in the second half as the combination of Contini and Blake Blair combined for 21 points, and the Tornado defense forced several turnovers leading to easy buckets.

Marietta displayed an interesting defense throughout the game, as it pulled its big men off the blocks and were guarding the perimeter, which allowed the Tornadoes several easy scoring chances under the hoop.

“They were trying to trap us out front, but I thought our guys, especially Cory, did a nice job of handling their pressure which led to some easy buckets for us.” said Von Kaenel. Contini led all scorers with 21 points, 10 of those coming at the free throw line in the final quarter. Contini finished a perfect 14 of 14 from the charity stripe, and Dover as a team made 24 of 28 from the stripe compared to Marietta’s 7 of 21 at the line. Blair finished with 14 points and seven boards for the Tornadoes, while the Tigers’ Braden Riley was their lone scorer in double figures with 16 points.