MHS cagers run past W. North during opening round of tourney


Joey Duke of MHS (11) drives past a Westerville North defender Friday evening. Also pictured for the Monarchs is Gabe Schaeffer (3). Marysville clubbed the Warriors, 64-35, during a D-I tourney game. (Journal-Tribune photo by Tim Miller)

The Marysville Monarchs played about as complete of a game as they have all season on Friday night.
The defensive effort was stellar and the offensive game plan was strong as MHS (15-8) rolled past Westerville North, 64-35, in Division I tournament action.
In doing so, the Monarchs avenged a 51-45 loss to the Warriors in early January.
Friday’s triumph all started on the defensive side of the floor.
The Monarchs closed down passing and driving lanes against an undisciplined Warrior offense.
As a result, Westerville North had a woeful shooting night and committed numerous turnovers.
“We engaged Westerville North defensively the entire game,” said MHS head coach Ryan Grose. “That was the difference between this game and when they beat us earlier.”
Marysville’s primary target was North’s Charles Perkins.
“He’s their top player and we wanted to make his touches on the basketball difficult by doubling up on him when we could,” said Grose.
The Monarch defense checked that box on the game plan as Perkins managed only five points.
“We also knew (Bailey) Lawrence was a good outside shooter,” said Grose.
Lawrence tallied only nine points.
The high-flying MHS offense featured an unselfish group that finished the night with 13 assists.
The Monarchs “shared the sugar” very well, especially when the ball started in the hands of senior point guard Joey Duke.
Duke distributed the ball for seven assists and also hit some key baskets during the opening half.
“Joey make great decisions tonight and created shots for several players,” said Grose.
Jack Christian knocked down a pair of three-pointers while Duke fed the ball to Garrett Taylor during an early run.
Duke then made a clever head fake and drove the lane for a layup that pushed the Monarchs out to a 13-1 lead with slightly more than two minutes left in the opening quarter.
After an exchange in possessions, Lawrence hit a bucket at the horn, cutting the Warriors’ deficit to 13-3.
Duke dished the ball to Taylor for a basket and then drove the lane for a score.
Gabe Schaeffer found Taylor open in the low block for a basket that pushed the Monarchs out to a 19-3 advantage.
Lawrence unleashed a long trifecta and Chace Perkins hit a basket for Westerville North.
Christian dialed in another three-ball that stretched MHS’ margin to 24-8.
Duke delivered a no-look pass to Taylor and scored once again as Marysville’s lead climbed to 28-10.
Duke then converted a steal by Schaeffer into a basket that helped the Monarchs take a 30-16 spread at the turn.
The Monarchs’ offense picked up right where it left off after the 10-minute intermission.
Baskets from Taylor, Evan Brown and Schaeffer expanded MHS’ upper hand to 36-18.
The Warriors still had trouble putting together much in the way of offense against Marysville’s relentless defensive pressure.
Christian buried one of his four trifectas, Duke dumped the ball into Taylor and Schaeffer tallied a traditional three-point play.
By the time Schaeffer’s charity toss swished through the net, the Monarchs’ lead had grown to 46-20.
MHS took a 46-23 lead as the third quarter came to an end.
Marysville grabbed its biggest spread of the night at 57-29 when Christian tickled the twine on a jumper.
MHS cleared the bench late in the contest.
Isaac Tocci nailed a three-ball and Nick Kessler hit a jumper to close out the Monarchs’ scoring.
Marysville will play at Chillicothe on Friday.
The Cavaliers boast a lineup of several players who tower at 6-5 or taller.
“They are a tall and talented team,” said Grose. “However, we will have a week to prepare for them, just like we did against Westerville North.
“I think our coaching staff will have the guys prepared to play.”
Christian 5-6-20, Taylor 8-0-16, Duke 5-1-11, Schaeffer 4-2-10, Tocci 1-0-3, E. Brown 1-0-2, Kessler 1-0-2, Barlow 0-0-0, Mills 0-0-0, N. Brown 0-0-0, Hamilton 0-0-0, Rohrs 0-0-0, Focht 0-0-0. Totals 25-9-64.
Three-point goals: Christian 4, Tocci 1.
Westerville North
Lawrence 4-0-9 Iheukwu 2-3-8, Chace Perkins 2-1-5, Charles Perkins 2-1-5, Ratkoumale 2-1-5, Council 1-0-3, Edwards 0-0-0, Spurlock 0-0-0, Reese 0-0-0. Totals 13-6-35.
Three-point goals: Lawrence 1, Iheukwu 1, Council 1.

Jack Christian of MHS hits a shot on Friday against Westerville North. (Journal-Tribune photo by Tim Miller)

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