Warriors hold on to beat rival Marietta, 80-66

Warren’s Thomas Williams, right, and Marietta’s Austin Witucky, center, and Mark Duckworth battle for the ball during a high school boys basketball game Tuesday in Vincent. RON JOHNSTON The Marietta Times

VINCENT — Warren High’s stretch run in the fourth quarter was the difference.

The Warriors outpointed visiting Marietta High 20-12 in the final eight minutes of play en route to an 80-66 triumph Tuesday night in boys’ basketball action.

Noah Nichols paced the Warriors (8-3) with 22 points, eight in the fourth quarter. Josh Huffman and Seth Dennis added 14 apiece, while Jared Hall and Troy Huck netted 10 and nine, respectively.

“Noah rebounded in traffic,” said Maddox, whose cagers shot 59.6 percent from the field (31-52). “He went to the rim and scored. He’s got a big heart and he’s finally playing with that confidence. He puts in a lot of work, and it’s paying off for him.

“Josh struggled for three quarters. I don’t know what that was all about. But you know, he’s there when you need him. We’re lucky to have him.”

RON JOHNSTON The Marietta Times Warren's Seth Dennis, left, guards Marietta's Tony Munos during a high school boys basketball game Tuesday in Vincent. Warren won, 80-66.

Marietta (5-8) was led by Austin Witucky’s 18 markers. Kail Hill chipped in with 13, while Cyrus Rhodes and Derek Duckworth had 11 and 10, respectively.

“We had some turnovers late in the game,” said MHS boss Glenn Dawson. “But the effort was good.

“I think our legs got a little tired at the end.”

Sparked by five points apiece from Nichols and Huck, Warren staked itself to a 23-22 advantage in a back-and-forth opening period, which featured 10 lead changes and two ties.

Hill had had eight points, and Witucky six to keep the Tigers in the hunt.

“Anybody that thought this game was going to be easy wasn’t paying much attention, “ Maddox said.

The Warriors maintained the advantage and never trailed in the second quarter, thanks to Dennis’ 12 points off the pine.

“He had a huge first half for us,” Maddox said. “I’m surprised the second half wasn’t quite the same.”

MHS stayed close, though, and tied the score 35-35 on a Rhodes bucket with under three minutes remaining in the half. Dennis then hit a pair at the line to put Warren back in the lead. But a Witucky deuce tied it once again.

Dennis scored another bucket as the Warriors regained the advantage, and Bryce Knost drained a three to give the home team a four-point cushion, 41-37.

At the half, Warren led 44-40.

“Marietta played hard,” Maddox said. “They’re a good team. They hit threes, and they take you off the dribble. They don’t quit.”

Thomas Williams gave the Warriors a lift in the third quarter, scoring all six of his points. Hall also had six in the period as the royal blue and white cagers led 60-54 going into the final period. Keeping the Tigers close, Witucky had eight points.

Early in the fourth quarter, Nichols and Huffman each converted a pair at the charity stripe to give Warren its first double-digit lead of the contest, 64-54. After that, the Warrior advantage never dipped into single digits.

With 1:15 remaining, Huck had a two-handed slam to stretch the Warrior lead to 78-62.

“Warren is a great team,” Dawson said. “They’ve got a dynamic program out here, but we felt like we competed up until the very end. We’re going to look to continue to get better.”

Hill made Marietta’s first bucket of the quarter came at the four-minute mark, making it 70-56.

The Tigers are scheduled to host Dover Friday at 7:30 p.m. while the Warriors are slated to play at Alexander on the same night at the same time.

“We’ve got some things to work on,” Maddox said. “We’re going to work on our defense and getting the ball low on offense. We’ve got to take care of the ball.”