Tigers fall to Quakers

NEW PHILADELPHIA – On a night when New Philadelphia honored some of its greatest athletes of all-time, senior basketball player Marco Colombo also sliced up his own piece of history for the Quakers and their fans.

The smooth 6-foot-5 forward reached the 1,000-point plateau for his career and helped the Quakers dominate Marietta 56-34 in an East Central Ohio League game Friday night.

“I can’t really say it has been my goal to score that many points because it has always been my goal and our goal as a group to win a state championship,” said Colombo, who had a double-double with 11 points and 10 rebounds against the Tigers. “It feels good – but I couldn’t have done it without my teammates, plain and simple. They are the ones making good passes to me in spots to take good shots. They have given me a lot of opportunities to take advantage of.”

It’s been a noteworthy few weeks for Colombo as he also has given a verbal commitment to accept a scholarship to play basketball for West Liberty State University, currently the nation’s top-ranked NCAA Division II team.

Colombo was presented with a basketball to mark the 1,000-point mark after swishing a 3-pointer from the top of the key early in the fourth quarter. He is only the seventh player in school history to score 1,000 or more points.

“I really have to say that Marco’s 1,000 points are very righteous,” said New Philadelphia coach Chad Spurgeon. “He’s averaged 20 or more points against schools like Canton McKinley, (Cincinnati) St. Xavier, Massillon and in the big challenges we have had over the past three years. He has played well in the big games and gotten points when we needed them for the team.”

Prior to the game, New Philadelphia also honored a new class of former sports standouts that will be inducted into the school’s Athletic Hall of Fame during a banquet tonight (see related story).

The Quakers (11-5 overall and 6-2 in the ECOL) struggled to find a flow for most of the game, but gradually pulled away from the overmatched Tigers (6-8, 3-6). Senior guard Caleb Beans led the Quakers with 13 points, scoring 11 in the first half, and junior guard Dylan Hagan added nine. Ethan Boose had eight points and a team-high 11 rebounds. New Phila only led 7-6 after the first quarter, but forced 12 Marietta turnovers in the first half and went to the half with a 29-14 lead after senior guard Skyler Dillehay buried a 3-pointer at the second-quarter buzzer.

From there, it was just a matter of taking care of business in the second half as the Quakers now prepare to take on Zanesville at home Tuesday night in a rematch of a stunning last-second loss earlier in the season to the unbeaten Blue Devils, who are ranked No. 4 in Division I of the latest Associated Press poll.

“We were pressing a little bit as a team tonight,” Spurgeon said. “We started out three of 18 from the field and it was one of those things where we were off a little bit.” The Quakers finished making 22 of 55 shots overall, but did make seven of 14 in 3-pointers as six New Philadelphia players connected on at least one long-range shot. Marietta, which made only 13 of 35 shots, added to their own shooting woes by managing on only six of 16 free throws. The Tigers, who committed a total of 19 turnovers, had only four players score on the night as Zach LaBarre had a team-high 10 points and three others added eight apiece.

Colombo said there are plenty of big games ahead for the Quakers and they will need to be prepared to play consistently well.

“There will be plenty of good games coming up for us,” he said. “It all starts with our team approach and our effort. This is a really good group to be with.”