PARKERSBURG-It wasn't easy.
But senior Erica Dawson's game-high 27 points was too much for the Generals from Winfield to handle as Marietta captured its second consecutive Jack Stephens Memorial Holiday Tournament by a 50-40 margin Thursday night at Memorial Fieldhouse.
"I thought we were over that (watching Erica Dawson play)," said Marietta head coach Scott Cozzens. "But the last couple of games we've been standing around watching her and it is allowing teams to get back into the game.
Photo by Jeff Baughan
Marietta's Gracie Haas, center, attempts to shoot the ball as Winfield's Chelsea Kirby, left, and Jayne Lawman attempt to steall the ball during Thursday's finals of the Jack Stephens Memorial Holiday Tournament. The Tigers won, 50-40.
"Then, we find ourselves in a dogfight."
If you are going to be in a dogfight, however, having a player like Dawson-signed to play at Xavier next season-on your side is a huge advantage. And it was last night
The senior made good on four of her first five shots, two from beyond the arc, as the Tigers sprinted out to a 14-3 lead after the first five minutes of the game. Dawson added a pair of free throws at the 1:33 mark and finished with 13 points in the opening eight minutes of action as Marietta took a 19-7 lead to the benches.
But what appeared to be the makings of a blowout, turned into a nailbiter as Winfield (4-3) opened the second quarter with a 6-0 run to slice the deficit in half, 19-13. Haylea Roberson got things rolling with a layin off of a Haeley Moore steal.
Moore kept things going with an easy bucket off of a Mara Rhoades assist one minute later and reserve MacKenzie Arthur closed the spurt with a deuce with 5:26 left until the intermission.
Marietta answered with a 6-0 run of its own as Dawson drained her third triple of the game with 4:24 showing on the clock, added a pair of free throws 47 seconds later and reserve Lauren Martin made good on one-of-two from the free throw line with 2:34 remaining until the half as the Tigers again looked poised to turn the game into a rout, leading by a 25-13 margin.
But the pesky Generals would not go away as Roberson added a pair of buckets to ignite a 7-0 run over the final two minutes and pull the Putnam Countians with five, 25-20, at the half.
"It's been the same thing for the last couple of games," said Cozzens. "We jump out to a big lead and then we let teams get back into the game because we stand around and stop doing the things that got us the big lead."
A lead that evaportated to one point, 30-29, on a bucket by Morgan Eggleton with 1:38 left in the third quarter.
Marietta, now 6-1 with a home encounter against Warren on Jan. 2, pushed the lead to seven, 36-29, on a pair of triples by Taylor Smith. But a layup by Winfield's Chelsea Kirby pulled the Generals back to within five, 36-31, heading into the final eight minutes of action.
And what a final eight minutes it was as Winfield, which never led in the game, pulled even at 39 on a rebound bucket by Jayne Lawman with 4:38 showing on the clock only to have Marietta go on an 11-1 run down the stretch to perserve the victory.
"We're happy with the victory," said Cozzens. "But we're not happy with the way we played. We have got to get things worked out quickly or we may be in for a long season."