Boys’ Basketball: Hawks Survive at JM

MOUNDSVILLE – John Marshall coach Bill Storm believes his boys’ basketball team needs to develop a sense of winning before it is going to get any better.

Friday night the Monarchs did a lot of things wrong, including committing 23 turnovers, but still had a chance late before falling to University.

Senior Grant Gutmann scored 10 his team-high 17 points in the fourth quarter while junior Jeremy Eckels knocked down a trio of 3-pointers to score nine of his 11 in the third, as the Hawks survived a near fourth-quarter meltdown to record a 51-47 victory against the Monarchs at the John Marshall Fieldhouse.

While Storm was disappointed with his team’s sixth loss in eight games, he was happy about how it bounced back after a pair of lopsided losses to big school powers Parkersburg South and Wheeling Park.

“We really got spanked by a couple of good teams in our last two games and I know the kids could have laid down, but they didn’t and I am very pleased with (Friday’s) effort,” Storm said. “It is just a case of kids who have never won before and they don’t know how to do it right now.

”But I believe we will get better, and who knows? Maybe we are just a couple of games away from breaking through.”

Trailing 38-32 entering the fourth, the Monarchs cashed in some opportunities at the line to key a 10-2 run and take a 42-40 lead with 5:10 showing. How the Monarchs finished that run is another story.

Still down 40-38, University’s Eckels was whistled for his fourth foul, and quickly thereafter a technical and what should have been his fifth. However, other than the Hawks’ coaching staff, nobody realized that Eckels had five and he finished the game.

Junior Ronnie Brown stepped to the line and buried the technical to knot the count at 40-40 before Tanner Filben, who finished with a game-high 19 points, hit both of his foul shots for a 42-40 JM advantage. With a chance to make it a four-point lead the Monarchs again turned the ball over.

“That was a key series where we gave Alex Whorton a little bit of a rest and we turned the ball over at a very bad time,” Storm said.

Gutmann then hit back-to-back treys to give the Hawks (4-3) the lead for good and start a 9-0 run that eventually was the difference.

“We are averaging about 24 turnovers a game and that has to change,” Storm said. “Finding more ways to score is another big concern. Tanner Filben and Hunter Sadoski did it for us (Friday), but we need more.

“There were a lot of sophomores that played in this game, and they handled themselves well, but again, they have to score.”

B.J. Warner also scored 11 for the Hawks, who watched leading scorer Tevin Dixon get into early foul trouble and not score a point in the contest. Dixon entered the game averaging over 20 points a night.

Sadoski added 16 for the Monarchs, who did grab a 30-23 edge off the glass, but turned the ball over 13 more times than University.

“They were giving us the perimeter shots in the first quarter, and we were taking them, but they just weren’t going in,” University coach Paul Ingle said. “But we haven’t been able to throw it in the ocean our last few games.

“We did get some scoring from some difference guys, but we have to find other ways of putting up points when the outside shots aren’t falling. That is a trap we have fallen into.

“I am proud of how the kids handled the late adversity and challenge and found a way to win, but we need to play better and I know that we can, and will, do that.”

John Marshall actually shot the ball well, however, with turnovers and 28 trips to the foul line, it just didn’t shoot the ball often. The Monarchs were credited with 13 field goals made on just 29 shots.