Tigers fall to Morgan, 59-49

MIKE MORRISON The Marietta Times Marietta’s Ryan Mannix (00) goes up for a shot as Morgan’s Tyler Janes defends during a high school boys basketball game Saturday at Ban Johnson Arena.

When it mattered the most Marietta simply had no answer for Morgan big man Tyler Janes.

Janes poured in 15 of his game-high 24 points in the second half while yanking down 12 rebounds to lead the Raiders to a 59-49 win over the Tigers in the final game of the River City High School Classic Saturday afternoon at Ban Johnson Arena.

The Raiders used a 23-point final quarter to pull away from the Tigers and grab the win in a game their head coach Rob Justice felt like they had to win.

“We have been in a little bit of a skid here lately so it was nice to finally come out and play well against a good quality opponent,” said Justice, in his first season as Raider head coach. “We talked about refusing to lose tonight and doing whatever it was going to take to win. This was a must-win game for us.”

The Raiders came out of the gate quickly as they jumped out to a 12-4 lead, largely due to 3-pointers by Janes and Josh Wells.

Marietta answered with an 8-0 run to tie the game with Mark Duckworth leading the charge with a pair of field goals.

Wells drilled a pair of second-quarter triples as the Raiders extended their lead to seven before Marietta closed out the half with a Derek Duckworth layup and a triple by Austin Witucky to beat the buzzer and close the lead to 26-24 at the break.

Early in the second half, Witucky tied the score with a short jumper and minutes later Tiger junior Jackson Graham connected on a long 3 to give Marietta its first lead of the game.

A pair of freebies by Janes put Morgan back in the lead before a rebound putback by Derek Duckworth and a free throw by Mark Duckworth gave the Tigers a 34-32 lead with a minute to play in the third period.

Once again Morgan responded as Jane’s bucket tied the game before a short jumper by Carver Myers sent the Raiders into the final quarter of play clinging to a two-point lead.

Morgan got a huge 3-pointer from sophomore Gabe Altier to open up a four-point lead with six minutes to play and after a Wyatt Miracle free throw the Raiders ran off eight straight points to take their first double-digit lead of the game.

The Raiders made 14 of 18 free throw attempts in the game including a pair by Altier and four straight by Wells as they began to pull away from the black and orange.

Miracle’s bucket stopped the Raider run and pulled the Tigers to within eight before Myers and Janes scored back-to-back deuces to extend the lead to 12.

Graham knocked down one of his three 3s in the game to trim the lead to nine but a two-pointer and an old-fashioned three-point play by Janes gave the Raiders a game-high 14-point lead they would not relinquish.

Janes connected on 8 of 11 field goal attempts in the game while making all seven of his free throws.

“Tyler is a very long athletic player that does a whole lot of good things,” said Justice of his 6-foot-5 senior. “He finishes great around the rim, can shoot the 3 and can guard all five positions.”

Joining Janes in double figures for the (5-5) Raiders was Wells with 16 and Myers with 10 points to go along with a game-high five assists.

The Tigers opened the season with a dramatic win over arch-rival Warren but have now dropped six games in a row.

MHS was led by Witucky with 16 points while Graham and Mark Duckworth chipped in with 10 points apiece.

Morgan will be off until Jan. 8 when it plays host to Maysville while the Tigers will travel Friday to Zanesville.