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Marietta tops Eastern for second straight win

Photo by Mike Morrison Marietta’s Rylee Kendall (2) makes a pass as Eastern’s Ella Carleton (42) defends during a high school girls basketball game Thursday at Sutton Gymnasium.

The Marietta Tigers capped off a successful short week Thursday night with a dominating 79-53 win over the visiting Eastern Eagles at Sutton Gymnasium.

Senior Morgan Altenburger led the way for Marietta with 20 points and eight rebounds as the Tigers jumped out to a double-digit first quarter lead and never looked back as they won for the third time in their first four games.

The Tigers began the week with a similar 65-39 win over Cambridge with Altenburger leading the way with 17 points.

Despite the wins head coach Allen Ruth doesn’t feel like his team has played quite as well yet as they are capable of playing.

“For whatever reason I don’t think we played very sharp. I don’t think we played very clean,” said Ruth, in his fourth season as Tiger head coach. “I thought we were a little bit flat and lacked some energy early on but in the second half they picked it up a little bit and I was pleased with the way we responded.”

Marietta quickly put the visiting Eagles in a big hole as 3-pointers by Tiger seniors Jessica and Jennifer Smith sparked a 12-2 run to open the game.

Minutes later an Altenburger putback for a basket and a pair of free throws gave the Tigers a 19-6 lead with 60 seconds to play in the first quarter.

A triple from Tiger freshman guard Saylor Wharff extended the lead to 14 before Jennifer Parker ended the opening quarter with a bucket for Eastern.

Parker opened the second quarter with a 3-pointer to get the Eagles back within double figures, but the Tigers responded by going on a 9-1 run.

Wharff got the run started with her second triple of the half and Marietta got consecutive two-point buckets by Altenburger, Wharff and freshman Kenzley Urban to push the MHS lead back to 17 at 33-16.

Parker had an outstanding second quarter for the visitors as she tossed in nine points, but the Eagles still found themselves trailing Marietta 43-25 at the break.

Ruth has been getting almost every girl on his squad involved as the Tigers got points from eight different girls in the opening half alone.

“We try to get everyone involved and we hope that will help us as we go along,” said Ruth, who got significant minutes for all 12 girls who were available. “We’ve got a tough stretch coming up.”

The visitors whittled the lead down to 16 early in the third quarter, but the Tigers finished on an 11-4 run to open up a game-high 23-point lead heading to the final period.

Marietta saved its best for last as triples by Altenburger and fellow senior Adi Hill keyed a 14-0 run to open the fourth quarter that increased their lead to 37.

Joining Altenburger in double figures for the orange and black was Jennifer Smith with 15 while Jessica Smith added 10 points to go along with a game-high six assists.

Wharff chipped in with eight points and seven boards while Hill, sophomore Rylee Kendall and Urban added seven points apiece.

The Tigers dominated the glass as they yanked down 41 rebounds compared to 27 for the Eagles with many of them resulting in easy buckets off of offensive rebounds.

“Rebounding is something we have really worked on because I felt the first few games we would just kind of shoot the ball and watch,” said Ruth. “For basically being a team full of guards I thought we rebounded really well and it resulted in some easy baskets.”

Parker led the way for the Eagles (1-6) with 17 points while Sydney Reynolds and Juli Durst added 12 points apiece.

Marietta will be back in action Monday night when they play host to arch-rival Warren.

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