PLYMOUTH — Up against an uptempo Mishawaka Marian squad and struggling to score, John Glenn slowed it down Tuesday.
But the Falcons still couldn’t convert, and the Knights stayed disciplined in the halfcourt, handing Glenn a season-ending 46-34 loss in the Class 3A Sectional 19 opener at Plymouth.
The Falcons scuffled to a 13-for-29 finish from the field, while Marian converted at a 50-percent, 17-for-34 clip for the win.
“We’ve had a hard time putting the ball in the hole since Christmas. The last three or four games we’re averaging about 33 or 34 points a game, and last I looked Marian was averaging 65 points a game and they had one kid averaging about as many as we’ve averaged the last three or four games, so we had to try to make it a possession-type game. I thought we did a good job of it through a half,” said Glenn head basketball coach Travis Hannah.
“The problem with a possession-type game is shots have got to go down. In stretches tonight they didn’t, and it goes from being a tie game to we’re down five, six points. We miss a couple free throws, we get it back to four or five there at the beginning of the third quarter — actually held them scoreless for maybe four or five minutes there — you think things are looking good. We’re trying to get back into it and then we turn the ball over a couple times and it leads to them getting free throws. When you play possession you can’t have those type of things, and that’s what we had in stretches tonight.”
“I guess it surprised us a little bit that it was that patient,” said Marian head coach Robb Berger. “Against New Prairie they were always looking to attack, and for a lot of the game it seemed like it was about running time. I’m real proud of our kids because you’ve got to win different games if you’re ever going to plan on advancing. We obviously like to get up and down the floor and press and run. That’s probably where we’re comfortable, and I was proud of our kids for staying disciplined, not getting frustrated and playing a different style of game and advancing in the tournament.”
Glenn was still in it for a half, but shooting troubles reared their head in the third quarter, and the Knights effectively shut the door on the Falcons.
Trailing just five points at 23-18 after an offensive rebound and second-chance layup by Josh Anderson — who led his team with eight points Tuesday — at the 5:31 mark of the third frame, Glenn’s zone defense held Marian scoreless for a 5-minute-plus spell at the beginning of the second half. But the Knights closed out the period on a 5-0 mini run, and the Anderson score was the only one the Falcons got in the third as they finished the frame 1 for 7 from the field.
The result was a 10-point, 28-18 Marian lead that was all but insurmountable given the pace of the sectional opener.
“We can’t score in the third quarter,” said Hannah. “In the first half, we wanted to be as patient as we could be; we wanted to run minutes off the clock at a time; we wanted to run a set and if we got a shot out of our set take it and if not, get back into our motion. The second half we told them if you get an open look we want to knock it down, and that’s probably more discouraging because we wanted to be more aggressive in the second half looking for our shots, and in that third quarter we’re not making them. It’s the same old, same old. We’ve talked all year that we have no post play, and if you don’t knock down perimeter shots, and if your guys struggle from the post — just because of our size more than anything else; we’re just not a big basketball team — you’re in a whole world of trouble. So that’s kind of what we fell into there in the third quarter.”
Glenn’s only two leads were in the first quarter as the Falcons struck first with an Aaron Stegemiller layup on a Trey Rhodes assist at the 6:35 stop to take the initial 2-0 lead. Glenn took another tenuous lead at the 1:57 mark as Anderson grabbed a steal, driving the floor and dishing to Brock Solmos on the wing for a transition triple that made it 7-5 before an Andrew Hasler putback on the other end made it 7-all.
While Glenn’s balanced scoring effort was paced by Anderson’s eight and six points from four other Falcons, Demetrius Jackson led all scorers with 24 points Tuesday. The sophomore Division I recruit put up 10 of those points as Glenn was forced to pick up the pace down double digits in the fourth, and he finished the night at an efficient 8-for-13 conversion rate from the floor.
“I’ll bet if you look at his fourth quarters, he probably averages double figures in the fourth quarter,” said Berger. “He’ll take over fourth-quarter games. It’s kind of a microcosm of him this season.”
The Falcons close at 10-11 and will say goodbye to senior starters Rhodes, Solmos, Stegemiller and Jordan Hesters, as well as fellow upperclassman Carsen Heim.
“This is a group, they were freshmen when I came in, and they’ve put a lot of time into our program,” said Hannah. “They’ll be the first to tell you it’s been an up-and-down senior year for them — we’ve won some games we probably shouldn’t have won, and we’ve lost some games we probably shouldn’t have lost. But it’s a group that showed up every day for practice; it’s a group that put in the time in the offseason. You never had to question where they were going to be or if they were going to be there. I just told them that goes further in life than wins and losses do. Yeah, you play high school athletics to be successful, but it’s the journey more than anything else, and these kids have had an incredible journey at John Glenn. We wish them nothing but the best. I wish we had a few of them back next year, but that’s part of the process.”
Marian improves to 15-6 on the season and now faces Culver Military Academy (13-6) in the first semifinal Friday at 6 p.m. It looks to be a match-up of similar styles for the two teams as both favor an uptempo style of play and both boast seven votes apiece in the last round of Indiana high school AP polls. The last time the two teams locked horns, the Knights came away with a slim 67-66 win, but the Eagles were without 7-foot-1 Sudanese center Chier Ajou.
“It should be a good one; I mean it was a great game down there last time,” Berger said. “They jumped up 20 on us and somehow we came back and won by one with no time on the clock. They didn’t have their big kid. I think you’re going to see some pretty good players on both teams. I’d pay to come watch it. I think it should be an outstanding game.”
• CLASS 3A PLYMOUTH SECTIONAL
MISHAWAKA MARIAN 46, JOHN GLENN 34
Score By Quarters
Glenn: 7 16 18 34
Marian: 7 23 28 46
JOHN GLENN (34): Josh Anderson 3 1-2 8, Brock Solmos 2 0-0 6, Trey Rhodes 2 0-2 6, Aaron Stegemiller 3 0-3 6, Carsen Heim 3 0-0 6, Jordan Hesters 0 2-2 2, Tom Knape 0 0-0 0. TOTALS: 13 3-9 34.
MISHAWAKA MARIAN (46): Demetrius Jackson 8 8-10 24, Coley Schulthesis 3 1-2 9, Andrew Hasler 3 0-0 6, Robert Mischler 2 0-0 5, Michael Whitaker 1 0-1 2, Michael Henry 0 0-0 0, Brian Florin 0 0-0 0. TOTALS: 17 9-13 46.
3-point goals: Glenn 5 (Solmos 2, Rhodes 2, Anderson), Marian 3 (Schulthesis 2, Mischler 1); Turnovers: Glenn 14, Marian 10; Rebounds: Glenn 12 (Anderson 4, Solmos 3), Marian 11 (Hasler 5); Assists: Glenn 5 (Anderson 2), Marian 4 (Whitfield 2); Steals: Glenn 3 (Solmos 2), Marian 6 (Whitfield 2); Total fouls (fouled out): Glenn 12 (none), Marian 12 (none); Records: Glenn 10-11 (final), Marian 15-6.