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Pioneer men advance in OAC tourney; women ousted

MARIETTA — No. 6 ranked Marietta College defeated Otterbein University by the score of 88-71 in the quarterfinal round of the Ohio Athletic Conference Men’s Basketball Tournament Tuesday evening in Ban Johnson Arena. The top-seeded Pioneers improved to 10-1 on the season, while the No. 8 seed Cardinals finished their season at 2-7.

The Pioneers advanced into the semifinals and will host No. 7 seed Wilmington College on Thursday. Tip-off against the Quakers, 62-58 winners over No. 2 seed Heidelberg University in the quarterfinals, is set for 7 p.m.

“The game just didn’t go our way for the longest time and we got frustrated. We didn’t execute the way we are supposed to,” Marietta head coach Jon VanderWal said. “We eventually wore them down and our defensive toughness about midway through the second half allowed us to get some steals, get some run outs and Jason (Ellis) hit a three in transition and that got us going.”

The first three minutes saw the teams trade a pair of baskets with Otterbein leading 6-4. Marietta answered with a 7-0 spurt that put them on top 11-6 five minutes into the game. The run had a pair of layups from Tim Kreeger and Sahmi Willoughby, and a three from Mason Lydic.

The Cardinals responded to the Marietta run with an 8-2 spurt of their own to take a 14-13 edge at the 12:46 minute mark, which forced a Pioneer timeout.

Out of the break, Marietta regained a 20-16 advantage behind a 7-2 run. The run was sparked by back to back buckets from Jac Alexander and capped by an old fashioned three-point play from Kreeger, with just under 11 minutes to play in the half.

With just under 10 minutes to play in the half, the Pioneers held a 22-19 lead. Marietta went on an 8-2 run that extended its lead to 30-21 at the 6:48 minute mark. The run saw Lydic, Lukas Isaly, Ellis and Brett Martin all score, and forced an Otterbein timeout.

Otterbein closed the half on a 14-8 run and trimmed the Pioneer lead to 38-35. Alexander, Ellis, and Willoughby scored the final eight points for Marietta.

The second half opened as a tight battle, with Otterbein outscoring the Pioneers 11-10 over the first four and half minutes of play. The Cardinals took a timeout at the 15:26 minute mark of the half. The offense came from Ellis, Lydic, Kreeger, and Martin.

Out of the break, after Lydic hit a three, Otterbein answered with five straight points to tie the game at 51-51 with under 14 minutes left in the game. The run was halted by a layup from Willoughby and a three from Ellis to put Marietta up 56-51.

After the Cardinals made the score 58-53, Marietta went on a quick 8-0 run to take a 64-53 advantage, which forced another Otterbein timeout. The run was started by an old fashioned three-point play from Kyle Matoszkia and capped by a transition three from Ellis.

The next five minutes of play saw the teams swap baskets and the Pioneers led 73-63. Marietta extended its lead to 81-63 with eight straight points run that took two minutes off the clock. The run was highlighted by four points from Isaly.

Marietta closed out the game and won 88-71. With the win the Pioneers advanced to the OAC Tournament Semi-Finals.

Marietta was led by Ellis. He had 22 points, on 6-of-7 shooting from behind the arc, pulled down five rebounds and dished out four assists. Lydic added 15 points and tied for a team leading seven rebounds in the game. Willoughby provided good minutes off the bench with 12 points and seven boards.

WOMEN

ALLIANCE, Ohio — The Marietta College women’s basketball team was eliminated from the Ohio Athletic Conference Tournament by the University of Mount Union.

The Purple Raiders defeated the Pioneers 76-64, in the quarterfinals.

Marietta head coach Kole Vivian said, “Always tough when the season ends, but I am proud of our team for competing during this season. Our seniors did a great job of building a culture and impacting our younger kids.”

The game opened as a back and forth battle, as the lead changed hands eight times in the opening five minutes of play. The Pioneers led, 10-9 at the 4:40 minute mark of the quarter. The early offense was well rounded, as Jill Congrove, Hannah Schill, Kelly Levering, and Olivia Gribble all scored. The game remained tight at the 2:11 minute mark, with Marietta on top 15-13. The Pioneers took a 20-13 edge behind a quick 5-0 run, that was started by Schill and capped by a three from Gribble. Marietta entered the second quarter ahead, 20-14.

Mount Union opened the second quarter on a 7-1 run and tied the game at 21 points apiece, two minutes into the quarter. The second quarter was a hard-fought battle, but the Purple Raiders held a 31-26 edge with a minute to play in the quarter. Madison Cecil and Gribble scored the final buckets of the half, and the Pioneers trailed 31-30 at the intermission.

Marietta regained a 35-31 edge early in the third quarter when Erin Hahn scored the opening bucket, and Schill knocked down a three. Mount Union answered with a quick 6-0 run to take a 37-35 edge at the 7:46 minute mark of the quarter. The Purple Raiders took a 47-42 edge late in the third, but the Pioneers finished the quarter strong and tied the game at 49-49 to enter the final frame. A layup from Hahn with 30 seconds to play in the quarter tied the game.

The fourth quarter remained tight for the opening three minutes of play. Mount Union took a 59-52 advantage, behind a quick 5-0 run, and the run was halted by a layup from Kate Liston, with four minutes to play in the game. The game remained tight, but late in the quarter a 6-0 run, put the Purple Raiders up 70-59 with under a minute to play. Marietta fought until the end, but fell 76-64.

The Pioneers were led by Schill, she had 12 points, four rebounds, and three assists. Makenzie Wilson added 11 points, on five of seven shooting from the field. Levering pitched in with 10 points and a team high eight rebounds.

Marietta finished the 2020-21 season with a record of 6-7 overall.

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