Friday was the opening game of district play for Marshall’s boys basketball team when it played host to Jacksonville as the Mavericks defeated the Indians in a 64-55 final. Marshall now holds an overall record of 17-6 and a district record of 1-0.
Savion Williams led the team in scoring with 20 points. Chris Leonard was next with 14 and Jaedon Knox scored nine. Caleb Valentine tossed in eight points while James Thomas scored six and Lyrik Rawls finished with three points. Jayson Tuck and Kevin Pinson each scored two points.
Devin McCuin was the Indians’ leading scorer with 18 points. Kameron Conwell dropped in 12 points and Jonathan Denman scored 10. Amad’juan Menefee tossed in six points while Desmond Fuller scored four. Jahbari Johnson scored three points and Ja’modrick Sherfields scored two.
“Savion Williams,” Marshall head coach Bobby Carson said when asked to what he chalked up the win. “It was also about how many shots he blocked, how many rebounds. It wasn’t like he just scored. He controlled the pain.
“Also, Jayson Tuck did a tremendous job feeding the ball. James Thomas pushing it when the guards had trouble getting to the pain and Tuck was able to get in the paint and make some things happen. Caleb Valentine hit some opportunistic threes.
“We can play better though,” Carson continued. “We’ve got to tighten some things up and honestly, we’ve got some guys who’ve got to grow up. You can’t get your feelings hurt just because someone calls you out for doing something wrong, snivel and pout. A man takes criticism. You have to be able to take criticism and roll with it.”
Denman scored the first points of the night to give Jacksonville a short-lived 2-0 lead. Leonard drained a three to give Marshall its first lead of the night and Pinson and Thomas each added a two to spread Marshall’s lead to 7-2. Knox then came up with a layup to make it a 9-2 ballgame and forced the Indians to call timeout.
After the timeout, McCuin tossed in a bucket and Thomas followed that up with a two to give the Mavericks an 11-4 lead. Williams came up with a loose ball and went up for two as he was fouled. He then tacked on the free throw to complete the old-fashioned three-point play to put his team up by double digits for the first time of the game, 14-4.
A pair of Jacksonville buckets were followed by Valentine draining a three from the corner at the buzzer to give the Mavericks a 17-8 lead at the end of the first quarter.
McCuin tossed in a three to score the first points of the second quarter. That was followed by a dunk by Williams on the other end of the court to lift Marshall to a 19-11 lead. The two teams exchanged buckets before Fuller drained a jumper to cut Marshall’s lead to 21-15 and forced the Mavericks to call timeout with 5:35 left in the first half. An Indians three and a pair of Marshall threes made the score 27-18. Moments later, Valentine came up with a steal and banked in a shot off the glass to give his team a 32-19. The Mavs got the ball back and the possession ended with another and-one from Williams to give Marshall a 35-19 lead. Menefee drained a three for the final points of the first half, making the halftime score 35-22.
The first points of the second half came on a layup from Conwell with 6:30 left in the third. Williams scored on the other end to make the score 37-24. A couple possessions later, Leonard dished off to Williams for the assist to spread the Mavs’ lead to 39-27. An Indians bucket was followed by Denman stealing the in-bounds pass and putting it up for two. Knox went 2-for-2 on his next trip to the free-throw line and Tuck added a bucket to give the Mavericks a 43-32 lead. McCuin brought it back to single digits with a three but Williams’ dunk lifted Marshall to a 10-point lead. The Indians cut it down to five before Meneffee’s went 1-of-2 from the free-throw line to make the score 47-42. Conwell went 1-for-2 on a trip to the line and added a two to put the Indians within one point, 47-46, as the two teams entered the fourth quarter.
Rawls scored the first points of the fourth quarter and his first points of the night to give his team a 49-46 lead. Leonard drained a three from the corner to give his team some breathing room with a 54-48 lead. Moments later, Williams went up for a wide open dunk. That spread Marshall’s lead to 58-49. A bucket from Knox gave Marshall another double-digit lead but that was cut back down to eight with a layup from Conwell. Jacksonville called timeout with 68 seconds, trailing Marshall 61-53. Knox hauled in a long pass and went up for two before Menefee scored the final points of the game to make it a 64-55 final.
The Mavericks will return to action Tuesday when they travel to Whitehouse to take on the Wildcats.