Fairbanks’ Tanner Ufferman, left, goes up for a shot against Marysville’s Ryker Bowden (center) and Jayson Moore (22). The Panthers beat the Monarchs, 42-38. (Journal-Tribune photo by Tim Miller)
Marysville boys basketball coach Mark Tinklenberg called it a box-and-one.
Zach Brown, his Fairbanks counterpart, preferred to label it “strong, help defense.”
Whatever the terminology, it worked as the Panthers shut down the Monarchs’ offense during a 42-38 victory Thursday evening.
It was the first game for the MHS boys to play in the Panther gym in 33 years.
It was also the first victory for Fairbanks over the Monarchs since the 1993-94 season.
“We’ve talked all season about guarding as a unit,” said Brown, whose team improved to 6-3 for the season.
“Our help defense looked a little bit like a zone (which a box-and-one basically is),” the former MHS assistant coach said. “We knew going into the game we wanted to take away Marysville’s two best players in (Nick) Wever and (Jayson) Moore.
“The guys really bought into the game plan.”
Neither Wever nor Moore had much of an offensive impact.
Wever finished with six points and Moore added eight as the Monarchs slipped to 2-5 on the season.
The Panthers (who will play at Greenon on Tuesday) also wanted to control a slower pace on the court.
They were largely able to do that by running time off the clock, especially when nursing a slim lead during the fourth quarter.
The Monarchs could never get into any type of offensive flow.
“Fairbanks is well-coached,” said Tinklenberg. “They took away our shooters and we had trouble producing offense.”
There wasn’t much in the way of give or take from either team during the first three quarters.
FHS jumped out to a 7-2 lead when Cade Ziegler muscled up a shot.
The Monarchs (who will host Worthington Kilbourne on Tuesday) gradually made use of their offensive possessions.
They tied the game at 8-8 when Brandon Fourman sank a pair of free throws with 1:45 left in the opening quarter.
Wever came up with a steal and fed Ryker Bowden for a basket that gave MHS its first lead of 10-8 with 90 ticks on the first quarter clock.
Chase Allen later sank a charity toss for an 11-8 Marysville edge.
Andy Higinbotham’s jumper with 28 seconds to play pulled the Panthers to within 11-10 by the end of the stanza.
Higinbotham returned a 12-11 edge to the Panthers with a basket within the first minute of the second period.
Kade Focht, however, pushed MHS up 13-12 when he hit a jumper.
Bowden converted a steal into a 15-12 Marysville lead and it looked as though momentum may be starting to shift to the visitors.
The Panthers, however, weren’t going to have any of that.
Tanner Ufferman scored in traffic and Dylan Tobe converted a theft into a 16-15 FHS margin.
After several swift exchanges in possessions, Higinbotham scored after Ufferman kicked the ball out to him.
With slightly less than three minutes left until halftime, Fairbanks had risen to an 18-15 lead.
FHS’ tight defense resulted in a couple of Monarch miscues.
Alex Crowe and Tobe drilled back-to-back trifectas, stretching the Panthers’ advantage to 24-15.
R.J. Thornton pulled the Monarchs to within 24-17 at halftime with a pair of free throws.
Tinklenberg felt his squad played much better defense during the second half.
The problem was, he said, the Monarchs couldn’t put enough points on the board and may have been bothered a bit by a raucous FHS crowd.
“It’s a smaller gym and people are right on top of you,” said the MHS coach.
Still, Marysville stayed within striking distance, never trailing for the most part by more than six markers.
Fairbanks took a brief 30-22 lead when Tobe fed the ball to Ufferman with less than a minute to play in the third quarter.
Moore scored in the waning seconds, slicing the Monarchs’ deficit to 30-24.
Moore, the Monarchs’ 6-7 post player, narrowed the gap to 31-26 with a stickback a couple of minutes into the final set.
MHS later whittled the spread to 35-33 on a basket by Dayne Johnson.
The game remained ever so close for Monarch Nation, but the team could not get over the hump.
Chase Adkins knocked down a three-ball that pulled MHS to within 39-36 with 32.2 seconds to play.
Time, however, was not a Monarch friend as the Panthers stretched the floor.
That, in turn, forced MHS to foul.
Fairbanks was soon in the double bonus.
Free throws by Crowe gave the Panthers a 41-36 spread with 25.1 seconds to play.
Johnson hit a bucket that pulled Marysville to within 41-38.
MHS burned its final timeout with 13.5 seconds on the timer.
The Monarchs were again forced to foul.
Crowe hit one charity toss for a 42-38 FHS lead.
The Monarchs came up short on two shot attempts as the clock expired.
“This was a big win for Fairbanks,” said Brown. “Tanner, as a 6-0 center, did a great job rebounding the ball.
“Andy and Dylan led us with 11 points and guys really stepped up in their roles.
“We wanted to be the toughest team on the floor tonight and I think we were.”
Brown understands the cards with which the Monarchs have been dealt.
“Coach Tink is a great coach,” said Brown. “Marysville is in a rebuilding mode and it just takes time.”
Higinbotham 5-1-11, Tobe 3-3-11, Ufferman 4-0-8, Crowe 1-3-6, Ziegler 2-0-4, Rausch 1-0-2, Feller 0-0-0. Totals 16-7-42.
Three-point goals: Tobe 2, Crowe 1.
Moore 4-0-8, Johnson 3-0-6, Wever 2-0-6, Bowden 2-0-4, Focht 2-0-4, Thornton 1-2-4, Adkins 1-0-3, Fourman 0-2-2, Allen 0-1-1, Coil 0-0-0. Totals 15-5-38.
Three-point goals: Wever 2, Adkins 1.
The MHS junior varsity team won the preliminary game, 46-40.
Andrew Rabe led the Jr. Monarchs with 11 points.
Ryker Green topped FHS’ reserves with 15.