John Marshall Boys Pull Away from Barnesville
Thompson leads the way with 23 points
MOUNDSVILLE — Tuesday night was one of those nights that John Marshall may not have brought its “A” game against visiting Barnesville, however, with senior standout Gunner Thompson doing his thing the Monarchs didn’t need it.
Thompson diced and cut his way inside all night long, scoring 11 of his game-high 23 points in the third quarter while the Monarchs defense did its part, holding the Shamrocks to four field goals in the first and fourth quarters combined in pulling away for a 50-42 victory at the John Marshall Fieldhouse, earning a season sweep.
Coach Chad Clutter’s 5-7 squad looked like they were going to make it a long night for the youthful Shamrocks early on, scoring the final 10 points of the opening quarter to take a 13-4 advantage. Those 13 Monarchs points were distributed amongst five players, with Thompson held scoreless in the frame.
But after hitting 1 of 7 field goals over the first eight minutes of play, and getting all four points from Luke Powell, the visitors caught a little fire in the second, nailing 7 of 11 from the floor and taking a short-lived 20-19 lead with 49 seconds showing.
Sophomore Justin Frohnapfel’s triple with two seconds left sent John Marshall to the locker room with a 22-20 lead.
“I thought we took care of the ball pretty well, but we did have some unforced turnovers in the first half that didn’t help us any,” Clutter said.
Barnesville kept things close in the third quarter, leading once, forcing one tie and never trailing by more than four points, but it could not prevent Thompson from taking the ball inside. The senior standout had three field goals and was 5 of 5 from the free-throw line in the third as the Monarchs took a 36-32 upper hand to the fourth.
Aaron Marovich, who finished with 16 points, hit a pair of free throws with 3:07 to go that pulled Barnesville into a 38-38 deadlock, but the visitors could get little else to go their way. John Marshall was able to convert free throws down the stretch, hitting their final six, and finishing on a 12-4 spurt to close things out.
“They have been playing very well, and they do a good job of driving the ball inside and kicking it back out,” Clutter added. “But once Gunner finds a gap in the zone he is one of the best at getting to the basket.
“We tried to get the ball inside, but had trouble getting shots to fall and they did a good job defensively. They also did a nice job of changing their defenses up, and with the exception of Gunner, we hesitated hitting gaps.
“I felt our defense played better here on the bigger floor. We allowed them 62 points when we played them in Barnesville.”
Thompson was the Monarchs’ only double-figure scorer with Bryce Yoho, Dustin Hall and Frohnapfel all chipping in five points. John Marshall turned the ball over seven times, to 11 for the Rocks, but was out-rebounded 25-24.
Powell paced Barnesville with a team-high 19 points, including a trio of 3-pointers. The Shamrocks had only four players dent the scoring column with Powell and Marovich scoring all but seven of the team’s points.
“They are bigger and stronger than we are,” Barnesville coach Matt Johnson said. “But we battled with them and even had a couple of opportunities in the fourth quarter. We had a couple of possessions that if things went our way, we could have made it difficult for them.
“We are a young team with five of our seven kids either sophomores or freshmen, so we are still learning. But these kids are getting better day-to-day and I am very proud of them.”
John Marshall returns to action tonight at Oak Glen in a makeup contest.