Mustangs match Spartan surge

T-R PHOTO BY ADAM RING • East Marshall’s Dru Boliver drives to the basket for a field goal against Grundy Center’s Braidan Buhrow (53) in the second quarter of the NICL West Division matchup Tuesday in Le Grand. Boliver led all scorers with 31 points, guiding the Mustangs to a 70-62 win.

T-R PHOTO BY ADAM RING • East Marshall’s Dru Boliver drives to the basket for a field goal against Grundy Center’s Braidan Buhrow (53) in the second quarter of the NICL West Division matchup Tuesday in Le Grand. Boliver led all scorers with 31 points, guiding the Mustangs to a 70-62 win.

LE GRAND — When Grundy Center came storming back, the Mustangs weathered the Spartan attack.

The East Marshall boys’ basketball team held an 11-point lead late in the second quarter, and took a 35-25 advantage into the locker room. When Grundy Center opened the second half with a 10-2 run to trim the lead to 37-35, the Mustangs kept the Spartans at bay, and came away with a 70-62 win in NICL West Division play Tuesday night.

The Mustangs (3-0, 2-0 NICL West) just a two-point lead at the end of the first quarter. But then Dru Boliver found his shot and took the second quarter over. Boliver finished with 31 points to lead all scorers. The senior scored 15 in the first half, 13 of which came in the second quarter on six field goals and a free throw. Boliver iced the game against the Spartans (0-2, 0-2 NICL West), going 8-for-8 from the free-throw line down the stretch of the fourth quarter.

“He made a lot of tough shots, and the kid is a good scorer,” said East Marshall coach Adam Bauder. “We’ve been work a lot on shot selection. A few of those I would say are some ‘No, no, no, yes’ type shots. To his credit, he’s a shot maker, not just a shot taker. A lot of those buckets were huge and helped us build a lead.”

Drew Rathe opened the Grundy Center run in the third quarter with a 3-pointer, the first made trey from any player in the game. Braidan Buhrow added points from downtown, and Bryce Flater chipped in four points on the run. The Spartans would play without Flater for most of the fourth, as the senior fouled out 20 seconds into the final quarter.

T-R PHOTO BY ADAM RING

T-R PHOTO BY ADAM RING

After an East Marshall timeout, Tyler DeBondt put a stop to the run with a field goal. The Spartans got within three points at three different times through the rest of the third quarter, but thanks to another six points from Boliver and a Zach Finders 3-pointer, the Mustangs took an eight-point advantage into the final quarter.

“I thought at times our 1-on-1 defense was a little soft,” said Grundy Center coach Joe Nelson. “Our help side needs to step up a bit and draw back on the backside and help out. When we did get stops, we’d fall asleep on the backside, or they’d get a shot and we’d give up an offensive rebound.”

The Spartans pulled within six at 62-56 late in the fourth quarter on a Chase Boren 3-pointer, and a Jared Krausman field goal narrowed the lead to five on the next trip down the floor, but Grundy Center couldn’t get East Marshall to miss much from the charity stripe as the final seconds ticked away.

Zane Johnson and DeBondt joined Boliver in recording double figures, scoring 12 and 11, respectively. The Mustangs went 21-of-29 from the free-throw line, including make 14 free shots in the fourth quarter. Flater and Krausman co-led the Spartans with 12 points each. Buhrow scored 10, and Boren added nine.

After playing its first three games of the season at home, East Marshall is on the road for the next four games, three true roads games and a neutral-site game. The Mustangs will be away from the home gym for nearly two weeks. The Mustangs start the road trip this Friday in a NICL West Division matchup at AGWSR. The Cougars (3-0, 2-0 NICL West) will come into Friday’s game with the same mark as East Marshall. Grundy Center has its home-opener Friday when the Spartans host West Marshall (0-4, 0-2 NICL West) before traveling to Class 1A No. 1 Gladbrook-Reinbeck on Tuesday.

T-R PHOTO BY ADAM RING

T-R PHOTO BY ADAM RING

“When you’re in a hole like that and time is against you, everything is one possession at a time,” Nelson said. “You can only go one possession at a time. … We have a lot of experience out there, but we got some guys who need some momentum. We’re making strides. We’re making positives steps each night.”

East Marshall 70, Grundy Center 62

GRUNDY CENTER (0-2, 0-2) — Drew Rathe 1 1-2 5, Jared Krausman 5 2-2 12, Chase Boren 3 1-3 9, Bryce Flater 4 4-7 12, Braidan Buhrow 4 1-1 10, Sage Klar 2 0-1 4, Jordan Hook 0 1-1 1, Finn Cleveland 1 0-0 2, Jake Bangasser 0 0-0 0, Mitchel Munson 1 2-2 4, Tanner Appel 2 0-1 4. TOTALS 23 12-22 62.

EAST MARSHALL (3-0, 2-0) — Dru Boliver 11 9-9 31, Zane Johnson 4 4-6 12, Eli Anderson 1 0-0 2, Tyler DeBondt 3 5-5 11, Logan Nicholson 3 1-1 7, Justin Ridout 1 0-0 2, Dillon Lee 0 0-0 0, Zach Finders 1 0-0 3, James Sylvester 0 2-2 2, Jordan McNaulty 0 0-0 0. TOTALS 24 21-29 70.

GC    12    13    19    18    —    62

EM    14    21    17    18    —    70

3-Point Goals –GC 4 (Boren 2, Buhrow, Rathe); EM 1 (Finders).