Mustangs gallop to victory behind runaway offense
LE GRAND — The Mustangs were one game removed from a dismal five-game losing streak and in desperate need of some positive momentum in a season plagued by injury, COVID close contact protocols and uneven play.
East Marshall’s offensive performance Thursday night in an 86-56 home win over Collins-Maxwell was just what the doctor ordered. Led by big games from seniors Logan Bowie, Ethan Espenscheid and Drew Runner, the Mustangs’ output was easily the highest of the season and it was the team’s second-straight victory after defeating Belle Plaine Monday night.
Head coach Adam Bauder emphasized that it was a strong performance on that side of the ball.
“We were able to continue offensively pretty much all night,” Bauder said. “Good execution, I’m happy with the offense.”
The Mustangs were hot out of the blocks, scoring 34 points in the first quarter and opening a 21-point gap over the Spartans. Bowie scored 12 in the first and helped set the tone for the rest of the night. Bauder said the team’s ability to grab defensive rebounds and score points in transition was critical to the explosion of offensive production.
The only downside for the Mustangs came on the defensive side of the court, particularly in the second and third quarters. The Spartans hit eight 3-pointers and were keeping up with East Marshall in terms of offensive production in the second quarter, much to Bauder’s chagrin.
“In the moment, you’d hope that we’d make some adjustments on the court,” Bauder said. “We can make adjustments as coaches and we tried to play some different defenses, but when the guy you’re guarding is going by you every time you, you’ve got to have some self-awareness and make adjustments. Or if the guy you’re supposed to be closing out on has hit three threes in a row, make an adjustment. Things we talk about in practice, we just didn’t see that tonight.”
At halftime the score was 54-35, and the Mustangs were in the ascendency.
In the second half it was more of the same — East Marshall scored baskets quickly and struggled at times in the half court defensively. Fast break opportunities were bountiful and Espenscheid’s 3-point shooting (five makes, a team high) kept Collins-Maxwell on its toes. Bowie continued to score as well, ending the night with a game-high 24 points and wreaking havoc on C-M’s zone looks from the high post.
It was the best performance this season for Bowie, who has been working his easy back from an ankle injury suffered in football season. Bauder said it was the most confident he’d seen Bowie since his return from the injury.
The fourth quarter was a stroll, as East Marshall emptied the bench early on and Collins-Maxwell wasn’t able to put up much of a fight. Espenscheid ended the night with 17 points, while Runner scored 16 and sophomore Bo Lee scored 13.
A winning streak is big for the Mustangs, but the bigger test will be Friday night, when the Mustangs visit NICL West co-leaders Gladbrook-Reinbeck for their second meeting of the season. East Marshall was beaten handily at home in the first matchup.
East Marshall 86, Collins-Maxwell 56
COLLINS-MAXWELL (4-11) — Caleb Dvorak 1 0-0 2, Mason Markley 4 0-0 11, Jace Huntrods 0 0-0 0, Weston Kahler 3 2-4 8, Luke Huntrods 6 1-4 13, Ethan Haus 1 0-0 3, Dane Beattie 1 1-2 4, Austin Hennick 0 0-0 0, Austin Kepple 5 2-2 15, Blake Huntrods 0 0-0 0, Braydon Bartleson 0 0-2 0. TOTALS 21 6-14 56.
EAST MARSHALL (5-7) — Bo Lee 5 0-0 13, Ethan Espenscheid 6 0-0 17, Logan Bowie 11 2-2 24, Junior Brown 0 0-0 0, Drew Runner 8 0-0 16, Joe Terrones 1 0-0 2, Toby Ryan 0 0-0 0, Cale Vos 2 0-0 4, Carter Anderson 1 0-0 2, Adrian Arifi 2 0-0 6, Whitaker Crouse 0 0-0 0, Blain Augsperger 1 0-0 2, Alex Jacobson 0 0-0 0. TOTALS 37 2-2 86.
C-M 13 22 18 5 — 56
E. MARSHALL 34 20 18 14 — 86
3-Point Goals–C-M 8 (Kepple 3, Markley 3, Haus, Beattie), EM 10 (Espenscheid 5, Lee 3, Arifi 2). Team Fouls–C-M 7, EM 10. Fouled out–none.