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High tempo sparks Mustangs to victory

T-R PHOTO BY NOAH ROHLFING - East Marshall’s Logan Bowie tries to drive around GMG defender Mykel Ratliff (41) during the first half of Monday’s non-conference basketball game in Le Grand. The Mustangs won 77-43.

LE GRAND — East Marshall’s Senior Night game against the GMG Wolverines (5-15, 3-9) started out with an important moment for the Mustangs’ five seniors: they were all picked to start by coach Adam Bauder. And after going down 8-4 early on, their short moment would become a fourth-quarter celebration as the Mustangs (11-9, 5-7) rolled 77-43 Monday night.

The slow start was put to bed quickly by key contributions from senior Eric Ommen and junior Drew Runner inside, who spearheaded the Mustangs’ early offense and gave East Marshall a 19-12 lead at the end of the first quarter.

The second quarter was when the offense began to take a step up and put the game out of reach.

The Mustangs pushed the pace on almost every possession of the quarter. Any chance to make an outlet pass and run a fast break was taken — and it more often than not led to a East Marshall basket with Ethan Espenscheid, Logan Bowie and Bo Lee handling the ball. Runner and Ommen continued to make their presence felt in the post — something Bauder said he’s tried to drill into the team this year — and before GMG knew it the score was 40-25 Mustangs.

Bauder said the team has to take advantage of its chances in transition in the postseason.

T-R PHOTO BY NOAH ROHLFING - East Marshall’s Ethan Espenscheid, left, elevates to shoot over GMG defender Seth Burgess, right, during the first half of Monday’s game in Le Grand.

“We’ve been talking lately about getting our eyes up off the outlet,” Bauder said. “Oftentimes we do have a wing that’s up there and open.”

The second half was more of the same. The Mustangs were playing a fast, confident brand of basketball and GMG wasn’t able to stem the tide. Logan Bowie hit two 3-pointers and had 10 of his 14 points in the third quarter as the Mustangs scored 25 points to open up a 65-29 lead on the Wolverines. By the end of the period, the bench was beginning to empty and Junior Brown got into the mix with an and-one basket. Runner finished with 12 points while Ommen tied Bowie for a team-high with 14 points. Senior Korbin Seth hit two threes and had eight points.

Justin Savadty led GMG with 12 points and Avery Bryant had 11.

The team’s man-to-man defense was also much stronger than in the first half, Bauder said.

“We went to zone in the second quarter because we weren’t guarding the ball screen well,” Bauder said. “I reiterated that we want to play man in halftime, and they played better in the second half.”

In the fourth quarter it was time for the Mustangs to tip their hats to the program’s seniors and let them have some run. This meant more minutes for Senior Night starters Jaron Johnson, Clayton Kerch and Tyler Finders. Johnson hit two 3-pointers, much to the delight of the East Marshall crowd.

But early in the fourth, a party broke out when Kerch hit a turnaround floater in the lane. The crowd got on its feet and went nuts, with players jumping up and down in celebration in a moment the players will never forget.

WIth less than two minutes to play, Bauder pulled his seniors out in order to give them a chance to receive a standing ovation from the home fans one last time.

Bauder called it a successful night for the kids.

“That was good for the seniors, the crowd got hype when they were in,” Bauder said. “That’s about as loud as it can get in here when those guys were able to put a couple of points on the board.”

The win gives East Marshall a 10-3 record in its last 13 games, a massive turnaround that Bauder said has given the team confidence to play its best basketball.

With playoffs right around the corner, East Marshall is rounding into form. The Mustangs play Meskwaki tonight to end the regular season and head to Story City Feb. 17 to play PCM in the first round of district play.

East Marshall 77, GMG 43

At Le Grand

GMG (5-15) — Justin Savadty 5 0-0 12, Kooper Gill 3 0-0 6, Zach Krull 3 1-2 7, Adam Cox 1 1-2 3, Avery Bryant 4 3-6 11, Zach Burgess 1 1-1 3, Abe Dieleman 0 0-0 0, Brayden Duden 0 0-2 0, Mykel Ratliff 0 0-0 0, Seth Burgess 0 1-2 1. TOTALS 17 7-15 43.

EAST MARSHALL (11-9) — Tyler Finders 1 0-0 2, Korbin Seth 3 0-0 8, Eric Ommen 7 0-0 14, Jaron Johnson 2 0-0 6, Clayton Kerch 1 1-2 3, Bo Lee 3 0-0 8, Ethan Espenscheid 3 0-0 7, Logan Bowie 5 2-2 14, Junior Brown 1 1-1 3, Whitaker Crouse 0 0-0 0, Drew Runner 5 2-4 12. TOTALS 31 6-9 77.

GMG 12 13 4 14 — 43

E. MARSHALL 19 21 25 12 — 77

3-Point Goals–GMG 2 (Savadty), EM 9 (Lee 2, Korbin 2, Bowie 2, Johnson 2, Espenscheid). Total Fouls–GMG 8, EM 12. Fouled Out–none.

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