Marietta, Austin Witucky battle past River View, 45-29

Tigers’ lead stands wire-to-wire

MARIETTA — Senior night for the Marietta Tigers brought back a lot of memories for those senior players, and Friday, they made one more memory in the regular season finale.

That came via a 45-29 win over River View at Sutton Gymnasium. Austin Witucky made the most of his curtain call with 14 points in the winning effort, and his biggest moment of the contest came in the waning moments of the first quarter. Witucky stole a River View inbound pass at the 3-point line and jacked up a 3 that fell at the horn. It helped what was already a big frame for the Tigers, as they took a 16-4 lead into the second.

The Black Bears’ defense adjusted and held the Tigers to six points, but strong efforts from the likes of Mark and Derek Duckworth led to the Black Bears being unable to get back into the game. Facing a 22-10 halftime deficit, River View had no answer for the hometown team.

Senior Wyatt Miracle started half number two on fire. He scorched the bottom of the net with the first six Tiger points, and that accounted for over half of his 11 points on the night. Meanwhile, the Black Bears hit their biggest slump of the game, as they were held without a second-half field goal until 2:40 left in the third.

That came from a Bryan Sykes jumper, as points were at a premium for the road team.

Heading into the fourth, Marietta marched into the last eight minutes with a 37-17 advantage.

The fourth quarter was the only one that River View outscored Marietta in, but it was too little, too late. A particularly fond moment for the crowd at Sutton Gymnasium came with 3:45 left in the game as Witucky fouled Will Anderson. That was his fifth personal foul, and he ended his regular season Tiger career with scores of fans cheering him heading toward the bench. It was the end of the line for Miracle, Witucky and Derek Duckworth, and their coach knew this was a special night for them ahead of the sectional tournament.

“It’s awesome,” Marietta coach J.D. Secrest said. “The kids definitely deserved it. We’ve been on a little slide there, but the kids have been playing well. We said all along that we want to be playing our best ball once we get to tournament time.”

Speaking of that tournament, the Tigers will travel to Logan to face Westfall at 8 p.m. Tuesday in a Division II sectional semifinal showdown.