Tigers Tumble: Marietta boys come up short 49-45 to Cambridge

Marietta led for 30 minutes and 51 seconds against Cambridge at Sutton Gymnasium Tuesday.

Unfortunately for the Tigers, a high school basketball game is 32 minutes, and Cambridge used the final minute and nine seconds of Tuesday’s contest to rally for a 49-45 victory and stun the Marietta crowd.

The Tigers scored the first 12 points of the game, held a 29-26 advantage at halftime and led by six with 1:17 to go.

Cambridge’s Zach Padden was fouled on a made layup and hit the free throw to cut the Bobcats’ deficit to 45-42.

Eight seconds later, after Marietta committed a foul on the inbound play to give it back to Cambridge, Jordan Watson nailed a 3-point jumper to tie it up.

On the Tigers’ next possession, Braden Riley was fouled and had a chance to give MHS the lead back, but missed the front end of the 1-and-1 try.

Cambridge grabbed the rebound and drained the clock down to seven seconds before Watson drove to the basket and spun a layup high off the glass and through the net to give the Bobcats their first lead of the game.

Marietta again turned it over on the ensuing inbound play and was forced to foul. Trevor Wilkinson drained two free throws to extend the lead to four with five seconds left to lock down the W.

“We had a nice lead. Pretty much had the ball where we wanted it,” said Marietta head coach Mark Duckworth. “We did not close the game out tonight.”

Jonathan Wood was the only player in the game to score in double figures. Wood scored 20 and recorded a game-high eight rebounds. Cambridge was led by Watson’s nine markers. While Wood had a big game, the Bobcats were able to limit a flu-stricken Riley to six points.

In the first six minutes of the game, Wood put in three buckets and Adam Gearhart nailed a pair of triples to give Marietta a 12-0 lead. Cambridge finally got on the board with 1:53 left in the first quarter on a Watson layup.

The Bobcats trimmed the lead to 12-10 early in the second quarter before a 7-2 run by Marietta made it 19-12. Baskets by Riley and Wood and a 3 by John Henry accounted for the seven points.

Cambridge rallied back to make it a 3-point game before a trey by Garrett Bertram made it 24-18. Wood then made back-to-back buckets for the Tigers but was answered each time by 3-pointers from Wilkinson to make it 28-26. Wood then hit a freebie at the end of the half to make it a 3-point game.

“Cambridge got hot a little bit in the second quarter (and) made some 3s,” Duckworth said. “We made some adjustments at halftime and felt like we took care of that in the third quarter.”

A total of nine points were scored by the two teams in the third period. Riley contributed four of Marietta’s five third quarter points with consecutive buckets to open it up. Jumpers by Conner Johnson and Skyler Roeder brought Cambridge within four going into the final stanza.

Clifford Clark opened the fourth quarter with a layup, but Wood responded with a putback, and one, to make it a 5-point Marietta lead. Clark and Wood again traded baskets before Josh Lewis drove for a basket to make the score 39-36 with four minutes remaining.

Corey Hill immediately answered with two foul shots to make it a two-possession game.

Later, with 2:36 left, Roeder hit nothing but net on a long 3-point attempt from the left wing, making the score 41-39. But again Hill hit a couple of free throws followed by a Dillon Sturm layup to make it a 6-point game, and it appeared Marietta was on its way to its third win in four tries.

However, Cambridge would go on to score the game’s final 10 points in just over a minute pick up an improbable victory.

Both teams shot 47 percent from the floor. Marietta grabbed 21 rebounds to Cambridge’s 15, but the Bobcats committed 16 turnovers to the Tigers’ 19. 12 of Marietta’s turnovers occurred in the second half.

“We knew Cambridge was gonna press,” Duckworth said. “For the most part, we handled their press in most situations, but at critical times, in crunch time, we didn’t handle the press the way we needed to.”

Marietta fell to 2-2 with the loss and will look to bounce back on the road Friday against Rosecrans.

“We’d have loved to have the win here at home tonight,” Duckworth lamented. “It didn’t happen. We can’t replay this game but we can certainly learn from it.”