Tigers too much for Cougars in 64-47 victory
MARIETTA — The Marietta Tigers celebrated their “Senior Night” with a 64-47 win over a very young Frontier Cougar squad Thursday evening at Sutton Gymnasium.
The six MHS seniors combined for all but six of the Tigers points paced by Morgan Altenburger’s 22.
With both teams playing for the second straight night it would be all Marietta early on as the Tigers out-pointed Frontier 20-7 in the opening quarter and appeared to be on their way to a blowout win.
The young and feisty Cougar team, which has just one senior on their roster, had a different idea as they matched the Tigers 19-19 in the second quarter to keep the Tiger lead at 13 at the break.
“We started out good and then went a little flat and I don’t think we had our legs under us after a game last night,” said Tiger head coach Allen Ruth. “Hat’s off to Frontier…. you can tell by their box scores that they are getting better and better every game and they played well tonight.”
Altenburger and Frontier sophomore Kara Ramsey each scored 15 points in the opening half as the Cougars settled down in the second quarter after turning the ball over nine times in the opening quarter.
“Marietta is a very well coached ball team and they really came out and put a lot of pressure on us early,” said Frontier head coach Mike Cisler. “We are young and excited and just needed to take our time and not get in such a hurry. I thought we did a much better job of that the rest of the way.”
Marietta came out of the gate strong in the second half as senior Adi Hill opened it with a field goal and fellow senior Jennifer Smith followed with an old-fashioned three-point play to give the orange and black their biggest lead of the game at 44-26.
Frontier senior Logan Haught came up big for the visitors by scoring five consecutive points and after Altenburger knocked down one of her four triples in the game, the Cougars got baskets by Ramsey and freshman Morgan Haught to head to the final period still trailing by only 13.
A basket by Logan Haught opened the final period for Frontier and minutes later the Cougars cut the lead to just nine thanks to a pair of freebies by Ramsey with less than four minutes to play in the game.
After scoring just two points in the first four minutes of the final period the Tiger seniors rose to the occasion when they had to as a three-point play by Jennifer Smith and an inside score by Altenburger quickly pushed the lead back to 14.
Marietta converted on 16 of 24 free-throw attempts in the game including four-in-a-row by Jessica Smith in the closing minutes as they finally pulled away to the hard-fought win.
Altenburger finished with a double-double as she yanked down a team-high 10 boards to go along with her 22 points while Jennifer and Jessica Smith finished with 16 and 12 points respectively.
Ruth is in his fourth season as Tiger head coach giving him the opportunity to appreciate the hard work and development of the seniors that have been with him since the start.
“When I came into this program and tried to set a culture I couldn’t have asked for a better group of girls to be all-in than these girls have been,” said Ruth of the Tiger seniors. “They have put in the work and it’s their leadership that we are going to miss. Fortunately we have a lot of basketball yet to play.”
Ramsey led the way for the Cougars with 22 points while Logan Haught just missed a double-double as she finished with nine points and a game-high 12 boards.
“I’m proud of the way our girls hung in there and cut the lead down to single-digits there in the last quarter,” said Cisler, whose teams record slips to 3-5 with the loss. “We’ve been playing really good team ball and our girls have a lot of heart and grit and they showed that tonight.”
Both teams will be on the road Saturday as the Tigers will take on Bishop Fenwick in the Tri-State Hoops Classic at Fairland High School while Frontier will travel to Southern.
TIGER NOTES… MHS assistant coach Steve Hill served as head coach for the first quarter of the game. Hill coached the senior class in middle school. In addition to Altenburger, Hill and the Smith twins, Josie Jeffers and Abby Benton are the other two seniors on the Tiger roster. Marietta improved to 6-5 with the win.