ALTON — Scoring came at a premium Tuesday at Marquette Catholic High. Luckily for the Civic Memorial Eagles they cashed out a little higher than the host Explorers, winning 36-33.
With the win CM improved to 4-1 on the season, while Marquette dipped to 3-2 with the loss.
Shooting woes plagued both teams on the night. The Explorers shot 35 percent (12 of 34), while the Eagles hit just 31 percent (10 of 32) of their shots. CM was better, shooting 5 of 10 in the second half when it counted most. Marquette was only 5 of 17 in the second half.
“We didn't shoot very well against Granite City on Saturday night and we didn't shoot well in the first half again tonight,” Eagles' head coach Doug Carey said. “We finally got it figured out in the third quarter, made a few shots and got to the basket a little easier and definitely knocked down free throws. That's going to happen this year, we're going to have some games where we don't shoot well, but like I told the guys at halftime, 'They're going to fall eventually, just keep jacking them up there.' But defensively I thought we were excellent, especially the last two possessions.”
Marquette head coach Steve Medford was on the opposite end of the spectrum on his squad. He thought the execution was subpar on Tuesday and leaky defense led to their woes in the end.
“This might be the most upset I've been after a loss in a long time,” Medford said. “We just didn't play defense right, didn't execute right, defensively we gave up offensive rebounds and we gave up transition defense again and those are things we've been working on and we just keep doing it over and over again. I don't fault their effort, their effort is good, but as a whole team, as a staff, everybody's got to get better or else it's going to be a long season.”
It was CM sophomore JaQuan Adams who had the biggest shot of the game. With the game knotted at 33-33 with 56 seconds left, Adams took the ball in transition, ran the length of the floor and scored on a layup around Marquette's 6-foot-5 Ben Sebacher to catapult the Eagles ahead 35-33.
“He made a great play there,” Carey said. “We were thinking about calling a timeout as we were going down and I thought, 'Quan on the wing is pretty good.' I made a quick decision and let him go and he knocked it down. He played really good. He's undersized playing in the post against Sebacher and I thought he did a great job defensively on him.”
Adams led all scorers with 11 points on the night. CM's leading scorer, junior David Lane, had eight points, but only one field goal, everything else came from the charity stripe.
Marquette leading scorer Shandon Boone was contained to one field goal, too. He also scored eight, tied with Nick Messinger and Sebacher for the team lead in the game.
Boone went to the bench with two fouls toward the end of the first quarter and didn't even attempt a shot in the second quarter. It seemed like the time the Eagles could take over, instead they went on a scoring draught that lasted more than 10 minutes.
Adams scored at the 2:19 mark of the first quarter and CM didn't score again until Justin Williams sank a 3-pointer with 4.6 seconds to go in the second quarter.
“You get one of the best players in the area to go out and they go on a big run,” Carey said. “It was just a matter of us rushing a little bit on offense and not kicking it when we should have kicked it. We got in a little trouble. It's a work in progress, this new offense. We'll get there eventually.”
Marquette transformed a 10-5 deficit when Boone went out into an 18-10 advantage behind a 13-0 scoring spurt. Senior guard Trey Aguirre netted all six of his points to spark the run.
“We played really well,” Medford said of the scoring spree. “It seemed like everyone picked up their game a little bit. We actually ran a little bit of offense and tried to execute a little bit. Defensively we all put our butt on somebody and we rebounded the ball. We did those things pretty well and then we got (Boone) back and we could never get it going, couldn't make a shot and unfortunately we lose.”
It's a nice notch in the belt for the Eagles, who watched Boone bury a last minute trey to lead Marquette to a 45-43 win in Bethalto last season. Carey knows it's early though and there is a lot of basketball left on the docket in '15-16.
“We were ready to come out and play, but the Super Bowl isn't played this weekend,” Carey said. “It's a marathon not a sprint. We'll get there.”
The Explorers now open Prairie State Conference play, welcoming Nokomis to Marquette at 7:30 p.m. Friday. CM is idle until 7:30 p.m. next Tuesday when it plays host to Mississippi Valley Conference rival Highland.
CIVIC MEMORIAL 36, MARQUETTE 33
Eagles 10 3 11 12 — 36
Explorers 8 10 4 11 — 33
EAGLES (4-1) — Brandon Hampton 4, David Lane 8, Adam Hill 2, Brett Lane 8, JaQuan Adams 11, Justin Williams 3. 2FG — 8 3FG — 2 FT — 14 PF — 13.
EXPLORERS (3-2) — Trey Aguirre 6, Shandon Boone 8, Nick Messinger 8, Reagan Snider 3, Ben Sebacher 8. 2FG — 9 3FG — 3 FT — 6 PF — 16.