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Bombers No Match for Marshalls

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There were questions about how good the Marshall County Marshalls would be this season. If their game on Tuesday night, December 3rd at the Green Palace is any indication, they will be just fine as they cruised to an 87-59 victory over the Ballard Memorial Bombers. The Bombers on the other hand, still have questions that will have to be answered.

The Marshalls jumped out to an 18-3 lead at the end of the first quarter and did not look back. While the Marshalls connected on six of twelve shots in the quarter and perfect five of five from the free throw line, the Bombers were struggling. Ballard Memorial was only able to hit on one of eleven field goals in the quarter and hit on one of three free throws. The second quarter did not fare much better for the Bombers as the Marshalls continued their hot shooting as they nearly doubled the Bomber’s point production outscoring the host 27-14 in the quarter. The only bright spot in the opening half on the offensive end was senior Zack McAfee, who scored seven of the Bombers 17 first half points that saw the Bombers trail 45-17 at the break. “I thought Zack was really consistent throughout. He just makes a lot of smart decisions and he keeps us stable,” said Coach Matt Botner.

The Bombers tried to rally back in the third quarter as the Marshalls tried to spread the floor and run some clock. The Bombers took advantage as they started chipping away at the huge deficit. The Bombers outscored Marshall 14-2 to open the quarter thanks to Keagan Cooper scoring eight and Clay Newton scoring five during the run. Dre Bledsoe completed a three point play to get the lead back to 49-34. The Marshalls would still hold the 56-39 advantage heading into the final eight minutes.

If there was any doubt in the outcome, the Marshalls would put those doubts away as they outscored Ballard Memorial 16-6 to start the fourth. The lead would reach 28 on a couple of occasions as the Marshalls connected on an impressive 15 of 17 free throws in the fourth quarter alone on their way to the 87-59 victory. “When you dig yourself that deep early, it’s really hard to get out,” said Botner.

The Bombers had no answers on the defensive end trying to contain the Marshalls as Marshall County hit over half of their field goals finishing hitting 25 of 49 field goals and connecting on 32 of 41 free throws in the game. Ballard Memorial finished hitting on 18 of 41 field goals for 43.9% but they were an impressive 14 of 26 in the second half. The Bombers left too many freebies on the table as they only managed to hit on 20 of 38 free throws. “Our goal is to hit 80% of our free throws and we’ve got to improve on that, and I think that is something that will get better as the season progresses,” said Botner.

“We’ve got to defend right, and we’ve got to take the ball to the hole,” said Botner as he added, “I think we did a pretty good job of taking the ball to the hole in the third and not settling for the 3’s.”

The Bombers have to defend better and get off to a better start to gain some confidence. “We have spurts where we are good and we have spurts where we are really good. It’s a matter of consistency,” said Botner. That consistency will mean putting together a full 32 minutes of basketball and not just an eight minute quarter.

The Bombers were led by Cooper who finished with 17 points while Cody Newton added 11. McAfee concluded the night with 10 points while Clay Newton had ten points and 7 rebounds with Bledsoe having seven points and six boards. Lee Chandler added three with TJ Wray ending with one. The Marshalls big man Austin Renfrow finished with a double-double as he was 10 of 14 from the field and a perfect 5 of 5 from the charity stripe for 25 points and he added 10 rebounds.

The Bombers travel to Lyon County on Monday the 9th, and then host St. Mary on Friday the 13th. The Bombers open district play hosting Graves County on Monday the 16th and then travel to Livingston on the 17th.

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