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Altenburger’s big night propels Tigers over Cambridge, 65-39

Photo by Mike Morrison Marietta’s Jennifer Smith grabs a rebound while Cambridge’s Nevaeh Smith looks on during the first quarter of the Tigers’ 65-39 win, Monday night from Sutton Gymnasium.

Senior Morgan Altenburger tossed in a game-high 17 points to lead four Marietta scorers in double figures as the Lady Tigers rolled to a 65-39 East Central Ohio League win over the visiting Cambridge Lady Bobcats Monday evening at Sutton Gymnasium.

The Tigers pulled out to a 20-point halftime lead and then erupted for 26 third quarter points, as they improved to 2-1 on the season.

“Against Alexander we came out real flat and against River we came out on fire and then let up,” said Tiger head coach Allen Ruth. “To stay focused and play as hard as we want them to play for four quarters is a key for us and tonight I thought we did a pretty good job of that.”

MHS jumped out to a quick 6-0 lead on field goals by Altenburger, freshman Saylor Wharff and senior Adi Hill and continued to add on with Hill knocking down a buzzer-beating triple to give them a 19-6 lead at the end of the first quarter.

The Bobcats got a free throw from Braxton King to open the second quarter before the orange and black scored nine straight points including a pair of old fashioned three-point plays by Altenburger and Jessica Smith as well as a triple from Jennifer Smith.

A free throw by Ziciah Gibson briefly slowed down the Tiger momentum but a freebie by Ryle Kendall and a steal and basket by Altenburger pushed the MHS lead to 31-11 at the break.

The Lady Bobcats shot a dismal 13 percent (3-24) in the opening half while a swarming Lady Tiger defense forced them into 11 first half turnovers.

“When our girls are flying around like they were tonight it kind of causes chaos,” said Ruth, whose team forced 20 turnovers in the game while committing just nine. “I was proud of them, they worked hard and played with a lot of energy.”

Cambridge finally got untracked offensively in the third quarter as they put 20 points on the board but the Tigers beat that by six as they increased their lead to a comfortable 26 points (57-31) heading to the final quarater of play.

The Tigers made just three triples in the opening half but doubled that amount in the third when they drained six from behind the arc including a pair each by Altenburger and Jennifer Smith.

The Bobcats scored the final eight points of the third period and the first basket of the final quarter but still found themselves down by 24 as Ruth emptied his bench and allowed all 15 girls on his roster to get significant playing time.

Altenburger was joined in double figures by Jessica Smith with 13 points, Hill with 12 and Jennifer Smith with 11.

“We had very good balance tonight and shot the ball pretty well,” said Ruth, whose team totaled 10 three-pointers. “We have a really strong group of seniors and they have a real strong supporting cast as well.”

Marietta barely missed getting all five starters into double figures as Wharff added eight including two from behind the arc.

Jennifer Smith led the Tigers in rebounds with eight, while Hill yanked down seven and also dished out a team-high four assists.

The Bobcats, who slipped to 3-3 with the loss, were led by Camryn Gebhart and Braxton King with 10 points apiece while Gibson added nine.

Marietta will remain home as they host Eastern on Wednesday night.

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