Prep boys basketball: Marietta falls to Dover 71-55

Dover built a sizable early lead and continued to pound away throughout the game Friday night against Marietta at Sutton Gym as the Tornadoes routed the Tigers 71-55 in an East Central Ohio League tilt.

Evan Snyder poured in four 3-pointers in the opening period to put Marietta in a 20-7 hole. Teammate Cory Contini made sure that lead held up for the Tornadoes, going 13-for-16 from the foul line in the final three quarters en route to scoring a game-high 22 points.

“I give Dover a lot of credit,” said Marietta head coach Mark Duckworth. “They executed their offense in the first half.

“Anytime you give that many (points) up (in the first half), it’s gonna be a tough situation to get back.”

Down 20, 37-17, at halftime, the Tigers tried to claw back.

After a Connor Beavers 3-pointer, Josh Cercone hit a pair of foul shots to give Dover a 42-21 advantage, but consecutive buckets by Braden Riley and Jonathan Wood followed by a trey from Corey Hill brought Marietta to within 14, 42-28.

Dover, however, fired back with a 7-0 run of its own, capped by a Contini 3-ball at the buzzer, to go back up by 21 with eight minutes to play.

Now down 60-35 midway through the fourth quarter, the Tigers got a much-needed surge off the bench from Garrett Bertram. Bertram scored eight straight points for Marietta, six coming on two 3-pointers, to make the score 60-43 with three minutes left.

Later, John Henry assisted Hill on a triple to cut Dover’s lead to 15, 65-50, but there simply wasn’t enough time remaining to complete the comeback.

“I thought the game was extremely physical,” Duckworth remarked. “It was very physical, especially in the post. They played our post players very aggressively and that worked to Dover’s advantage. It hurt us.”

Hill led Marietta’s offensive attack with 15 points. Riley added 13 points and Jonathan Wood posted a team-best nine rebounds to go along with seven points.

Snyder contributed 21 markers for Dover while Blake Blair chipped in 11. Contini posted team-highs with nine boards and six assists.

As a team, Dover went 17-for-40 (42.5 percent) from the floor. The Tornadoes also did work at the charity stripe, going 30-for-35 at the line and making several freebies down the stretch to keep the Tigers out of striking distance.

“They stepped up there and made free throws,” Duckworth said. “They’re a fundamentally sound team. They’re well-coached. They’re disciplined. When you get down, it’s gonna be hard to get back.”

The Tigers shot 36.3 percent (20-for-55) in the game. They never got comfortable from long range, making just five 3-pointers in 22 attempts.

Dover improved to 15-2 overall with the victory.

Marietta (7-8) hosts Belpre Saturday night at 7:30. The Tigers defeated the Golden Eagles 60-59 earlier this season.

“We’ll continue to work and get back to our strengths, to our post players,” Duckworth said. “Hopefully our perimeter guys will hit shots (Saturday) and our post players will finish inside.”