Prep boys basketball: Tigers tame Mustangs, 52-47

Jon Wood and Braden Riley were Marietta’s muscle in the paint.

The Tiger duo combined for 30 points as the MHS boys downed Claymont, 52-47, in their season and home basketball opener at Sutton Gym Tuesday night.

“We knew going in that they didn’t have much height underneath, so we took advantage of that,” said the 6-foot-6 Wood, who finished with 16 points. “We just attacked the basket and tried to get them in foul trouble – and we came home with the win. It was a battle.”

The 6-5 Riley added 14 markers before fouling out late in the fourth quarter.

Corey Hill, who is scheduled to have tonsil surgery today, chipped in with 10 markers.

“We talked about before the game being able to take the ball down low and getting (Claymont) in foul trouble and work our way to the foul line,” said first-year Marietta head coach Mark Duckworth, who was making his debut at the orange and black helm. “The game played out the way we wanted it to. We know we’re strong in the post, and I really liked our commitment to getting the ball in to Jon Wood and Braden Riley down in the post.”

Claymont (1-1) was paced by Kohltin Miles, who tallied 16 points. Dylan Sterling added 13, and Dallas Clarke netted 11.

The contest was nip and tuck for the entire 32 minutes with no team getting a double-digit advantage.

After the opening tip-off, Marietta made its first three field goal attempts from the floor and was five of nine from the field. Wood and Riley had two buckets apiece as the Tigers and Mustangs were deadlocked at 10 after one.

In the second quarter, Claymont took a five-point lead, 19-14, when Miles drained a three. But MHS came right back, and with under a minute before the break, Adam Gearhart nailed a triple to tie the score at 20-all. During third-quarter action, Zach LaBarre, Wood, and Riley each had two baskets as Marietta led 35-34 going into the final eight minutes of play.

At the start of the fourth, Hill hit a three to stretch the Tiger lead to four. But Claymont came back and led 41-40 at the 3:55 mark on Miles’ two freebies.

MHS regained the advantage 44-41 on a Riley deuce and a LaBarre layup with an assist from Hill.

Down the stretch, Marietta struggled at the line but so did Claymont. The Tigers made enough of them, though – eight of 16 – to keep the Mustangs at bay. “We didn’t make all the free throws at the end that we wanted to, but it’s early in the season,” Duckworth said. “The guys will get their legs and shoot better as we go along.”

Marietta is scheduled to host Zanesville Friday at 7:30 p.m.