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Monarchs Stand Tall to Ground Jets

Neiswonger gets double-double

Photo by Seth Staskey John Marshall’s Brennan Sobutka goes up for a shot among Union Local defenders D.J. Butts (24) and Jared Miller (14) during Thursday’s game at the John Marshall Fieldhouse in Moundsville. The Monarchs posted a 53-48 victory.

MOUNDSVILLE — John Marshall showed grit and resolve time and time again Thursday evening as it worked to hold off Union Local.

According to head coach Chad Clutter, that’s been the recipe more often than not for his Monarchs so far this season.

Combine some clutch foul shooting with solid rebounding and just enough defensive stops and it added up to a hard-earned 53-48 victory for the Monarchs inside the John Marshall Fieldhouse.

“Our games are like this every night,” Clutter smiled. “This is the way our nights are every night out. Our kids have to battle and they did it again (Thursday). This is a good win.”

The victory improves the Monarchs to 6-5 entering tonight’s road trip to Wheeling Park.

Meanwhile, on the other side, Union Local, which goes on the road to Cambridge this evening, drops to 6-5 as it continues to chase a bid in the OVAC Class 4A Tournament next month.

“I felt like we had opportunities,” UL coach Zach Delman said. “We did a nice job of executing in the first half, but the bottom line was they had 15 offensive rebounds that led to 19 (second-chance) points and we committed 14 turnovers.”

Delman basically summarized it.

The Monarchs, who didn’t have a decided size advantage, continually seemed to come up with all of the 50-50 balls and converted many of those chances. That was especially true in the fourth quarter when they seized the momentum.

The Jets maintained a 39-38 lead after three.

John Marshall scored nine of the first 11 in the fourth quarter with seven of those coming from senior Grant Neiswonger, who also came up big in the second quarter scoring 10 of the Monarchs 17 in that chapter.

“Neiswonger had a huge game when you consider he had 13 rebounds and seven steals,” Clutter pointed out. “He does a great job (defensively) off the ball because most of his steals weren’t from the guy he was guarding. He did a good job of helping with the cutters.”

Thanks to Neiswonger’s early explosion in the fourth, the Monarchs took the lead and never relinquished it. Union Local got as close as three on two occasions, but the Monarchs held them at bay thanks to converting six free throws down the stretch, including a four-of-four effort from junior Roman Gray, who added 11 points in top support of Neiswonger’s 17.

“We got ate up a little bit inside at some inopportune times,” Delman said. “We played hard, but John Marshall just made a few more plays than we did. We talk about it all the time that these games usually come down to little things. A couple little mistakes add up, especially in a one or two possession game.”

The Jets, who played without junior point guard Beezer Porter, received an impressive performance from junior D.J. Butts, who went for a game-high 19 points. Senior Elijah Butterworth finished with 13 and Jared Miller contributed nine.

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