MARIETTA-Corey Hill tossed in 23 points, including a dozen in the game's final four minutes, as the Marietta Tigers held off the Belpre Golden Eagles 64-51 in a non-conference contest at Sutton Gymnasium Thursday night.
Hill missed most of the third quarter and a portion of the final quarter with an ankle injury, before returning to help the Tigers withstand a valiant Belpre comeback bid.
The Golden Eagles cut what once was a 21-point Tiger third quarter lead down to just five in the final quarter before MHS hung on for its fourth victory of the season.
Photo by Jordan Holland
Marietta's Billy Weekly puts up a shot over the Belpre defense Thursday in Marietta. The Tigers won, 64-51.
"We made it interesting there for awhile, but were able to respond," said Tiger head coach J.D. Secrest. "We just haven't quite figured out yet how to give that knock out punch yet, but we stuck it out and got the win."
The Marietta offense, which struggled early on in the season, came out firing in the first quarter as the Tigers hit 6 of 10 field goal attempts to take a 14-5 lead after one period of play.
Back-to-back treys from Hill and senior point guard Jordan Satterfield opened the second quarter for the Tigers and sparked an 11-2 run that sent the Tigers out to what appeared to be a comfortable 24-7 lead.
Belpre got a pair of 3-pointers from Austin Forshey late in the second quarter to pull within 11, but the Tigers closed out the half with buckets by Braden Riley and Cameron Benson to take a 16-point lead into intermission.
The Tigers showed no signs of letting up in the second half as Satterfield drove strong to the basket for a score and Hill followed with another triple to make it 36-15.
Forshey struck once again from long range for Belpre, but an inside basket form Marietta's Billy Weekly pushed the lead to 41-20 with six minutes to play in the third.
The Tigers got a scare when Hill got tangled up with a Belpre defender on a rebound attempt and was helped off the court with an apparent ankle injury.
The Belpre offense, which had been quiet for most of the game's first 22 minutes, began to show some life.
Dakota Hoffman got things started with a short jumper and Nick Therriault followed with four consecutive free throws to cut the lead to 41-26.
Therriault scored on an inbound play to cut the lead to 13, but the Tigers managed to keep that cushion heading into the final quarter.
The Golden Eagle comeback attempt shifted into high gear in the final quarter as Bryce Pittenger hit consecutive field goals and when Hoffman drilled a 3 from the top of the key, the Tiger lead had been cut to five points at 46-41 with a little more than six minutes to play.
Hill re-entered the game for MHS and promptly dished a nice pass to Riley for a basket to temporarily halt the Belpre charge.
After Pittenger and Riley traded scores, Therriault grabbed a rebound and scored to cut the lead to five at 50-45.
Once again it would be Hill who delivered for the Tigers.
The junior forward hit a pair of free throws to make it a seven-point lead and followed that up with a field goal to stretch the lead to 54-45.
A pair of free throws by Hoffman closed the lead back to seven but a pair of threes by Hill, one from long range and the other the old fashioned way, put things away for good for the Tigers.
"Corey Hill hit some huge shots for us down the stretch," said Secrest of Hill, who connected on 7-of-10 shots in the game. "He hit his foul shots too which was big."
Hill's 23 points led the way for Marietta, while Satterfield and Riley also reached double figures with 11 and 10 points, respectively.
Satterfield added six rebounds and dished out six assists, while Riley completed a double-double with a game-high 12 rebounds.
Therriault's 16 points led Belpre, while Hoffman and Forshey added 12 markers apiece.
Belpre head coach Jordan Thornhill was pleased with his team's second half effort, but not so happy with the start.
"We just do not seem to start a game with any sense of urgency," said Thornhill, in his second year as a head coach. "I'm proud of the effort in the second half, but we didn't play with enough energy or effort early on."
The win evened the Tigers' record at 4-4, while Belpre fell one game under the .500 mark at 3-4.
The Tigers will get a little break before traveling to New Matamoras to take on Frontier on Jan. 5, while Belpre will be right back in action tonight in the Ohio River Classic at Marietta College when they take on River Valley with a 9:30 tip-off.