Marietta High falls in sectional title game

LOGAN — H&H Incorporated got started early on Saturday, and that’s usually a bad sign for the opposition.

Marietta found out first hand.

Ethan Heller scored 14 first-quarter points and Grant Heileman added 11 in the second, building a lead Sheridan wouldn’t relinquish in a 67-54 win in a Division II sectional final at Jim Myers Gynnasium.

Top-seeded Sheridan (20-3) advanced to the district semifinals at 6:15 p.m. on March 2 against Waverly. The Generals will be bidding for their first district final since Derek Axline, David Cains and Dustin Pargeon led them there in 1999-2000.

Heller scored seven of the game’s first nine points as Sheridan led 12-0 before Austin Witucky’s 3 with 4:36 left in the quarter got Marietta on the board.

Heileman followed him by owning the interior in the second, hitting all four of his shots and three of his four free throws.

Heileman, a 6-7 junior, finished with 21 points and Heller 20.

Marietta (9-15), the No. 9 seed, lived up to their aggressive reputation. It entered with two straight wins and gave a spirited effort throughout on Saturday, but the early hole proved more than it could withstand.

The Tigers cut a 13-point halftime deficit to 38-34 with three minutes left in the third quarter behind a trapping half-court defense that forced six turnovers in nine possessions. It resulted in a 10-2 run, with freshman guard Tony Munos driving twice for layups. He scored a team-high 18 points.

But Sheridan eventually settled, extending its lead back to 10 points that was still 51-43 entering the fourth.

Then the Generals put it away.

Ethan Heller’s drive for a score to start the fourth quarter pushed the lead back to 10 points and accounted for the 1,000th points of his career. It also sparked a 10-1 run that put the game away, a stretch that also saw Dylan Emmert score twice in the lane and the Tigers miss five of six free throws.

Sheridan’s lead reached 67-49 with two minutes left.

Marietta coach J.D. Secrest, whose battle-tested team played the likes of Zanesville, Dover and New Philadelphia in the East Central Ohio League, felt his team gave its best overall effort of the season.

“There’s a lot of battles in that league. It’s a tough physical league, and today our kids really responded,” Secrest said. “That was an effort that probably would have beaten a lot of teams. But Sheridan is the No. 1 seed for a reason. Sheridan does things that’s tough for us to defend.”

Sheridan finished 30-of-58 from the field with four 3-pointers, but had 18 turnovers. Marietta was 21-of-51 from the field with 10 miscues.

Anthony Avendano chipped in 13 points for Marietta.