Boys Basketball Falls Just Short Vs. Marion

Posted on January 5, 2014 in Boy's Basketball, Winter Sports
Senior Gerritt Taylor tries to steal the ball from a Marion player.

Senior Gerritt Taylor tries to steal the ball from a Marion player.

By Matt Wilson mwilson@chronicle-tribune.com

MIER — Minus leading scorer senior James Blackmon Jr., the Marion boys’ basketball team went to a more balanced attack as the Giants defeated rival Oak Hill 74-58 in front of a sell-out crowd on Friday at Mier.

Sophomore Vijay Blackmon scored a Marion career-high 24 points to lead a group of four Giant double-figure scorers. Marion improved to 6-3 with the victory, while Oak Hill dropped to 1-7.

Blackmon Jr., who came into the game averaging 36 points per game, bruised his knee in last Saturday’s 67-61 loss to Carroll in the championship game of the Carroll Shootout. Blackmon Jr. went through warm ups with the Giants, but three minutes before tipoff came back to the court not in uniform.

Marion coach James Blackmon Sr. said he wanted his son to go through warm ups and see how is knee would react to making cuts to the basket. Blackmon Jr. told his dad he still felt some pain in his knee while making the cuts in warm ups.

Blackmon Sr. said his son should be back for next Friday’s game at Madison-Grant.

“It’s way easier to score when you have a scorer like James,” Vijay Blackmon said. “We just had to go out there and play our game and not force things.”

Vijay Blackmon was five short of his prep career high of 29 points he scored last year at Fort Wayne Bishop Luers.

“Vijay did a great job of getting into the lane and hitting high-percentage shots,” James Blackmon Sr. said.

Senior Dalon Hill came through with a career-high 16 points for the Giants. Reggie Jones added 12 points, while Alec Turner had 11 points. Turner was playing for the first time after missing all four games of the Carroll Shootout because of concussion.

Turner hit one of the biggest shots of the game for the Giants.

With Marion clinging to a 57-54 lead with three minutes remaining, Turner hit a 3-pointer right in front of the Oak Hill student section, giving the Giants a 60-54 lead.

“Alec just hit a big shot for us,” James Blackmon Sr. said. “Alec did a great job of leading the team all game. He did a great job of running the offense and on defense he communicated well.”

Oak Hill’s Korbin Cruea hit two free throws to bring Oak Hill within 60-56 with 2:42 remaining. Starting with two Jones’ free throws, however, Marion scored the next nine points and took a 69-56 lead after Jones’ rebound basket with 1:11 remaining.

Marion ended the game on a 14-2 run in the final three minutes of the game.

“Looking back I had one timeout left and I should have used it to stop the bleeding a bit,” Oak Hill coach Kevin Renbarger said. “I just think their athleticism wore us down in the last three or four minutes of the game.”

Oak Hill stayed with Marion throughout the night. The Giants enjoyed a 51-42 lead going into the fourth quarter, but Oak Hill went on a 12-6 run to open the fourth quarter, cutting the Marion lead to 57-74 after David Horner’s basket.

“We did a great job of competing from beginning to end and I’m proud of every single guy on the floor tonight,” Renbarger said. “We went about 10 or 12 deep tonight and I’m proud of the effort we got from everyone.”

Jon Mauk led Oak Hill with 16 points. Gerritt Taylor had 11 points and Caleb Maggard had 10 points.

Hill scored his 16 points on a 7-for-9 effort from the field. He also had nine rebounds.

“We had a good team effort tonight,” Hill said. “They got close to us at the end, but we were able to play some good defense and rebounded the ball well. We also finished when we got to the rim.”

Marion won the JV game 36-34. Timmy Leavell hit the game-winning basket with two seconds remaining.

Leavell hit a basket with 34 seconds left to put Marion up 34-32. Oak Hill’s Cody White hit two free throws to tie the game.

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