News From Terre Haute, Indiana

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December 28, 2012

Maurer sparks Marshall to first-round victory against West Vigo

TERRE HAUTE — After trudging through a slow first quarter in which he tallied only one point, 6-foot-5 senior Taylor Maurer erupted in the next two frames to finish with 22 points and 14 rebounds.

That helped lead Marshall, Ill., to a 64-42 first-round victory over familiar foe West Vigo in the Pizza Hut Wabash Valley Classic boys basketball tournament Thursday afternoon in Terre Haute South High School’s gym.

“I thought Taylor did a great job of persevering and staying with it [after missing his first three shots from the field],” Marshall coach Tom Brannan told the Tribune-Star. “As the game progressed, he looked a lot stronger going to the hole and getting offensive boards, I thought.”

The Lions will advance to the quarterfinals tonight to face Rockville at 7 o’clock.

“We’re going to have to handle their height,” Brannan said of the undefeated Rox. “They go 6-7, 6-7, 6-4 [on the front line]. We’ll have to make sure we keep those guys off the glass and try to limit their second shots.”

On Thursday, Marshall jumped ahead 11-8 after the first period. Late in the second quarter, Brannan’s squad turned a 17-13 lead into 29-15 with a 12-2 run that included one 3-pointer apiece from Walker Berner and Drew Morris and three buckets by Maurer.

Marshall boosted its advantages to 42-23 late in the third period, 57-35 midway through the fourth period and 64-36 on a trey by Morris with 2:26 remaining before settling on the 22-point triumph.

Morris and Berner were the Lions’ other double-figure scorers with 17 and 10 points respectively.

West Vigo’s top scorers were Aaron Kirby with 13 points and substitute Braiden Cardinal with 10, but coach Joe Boehler said there were no bright spots in this loss.

“I thought we had plenty of opportunities to be in the game, to get ourselves in the game,” he assessed. “I think even in the third quarter, I felt like we were within striking distance a few times. We just needed a possession or two here and there and [the deficit] would have been single digits.

“We just don’t make the plays that need to be made and we make easy things into difficult things. We have easy shots that we turn into difficult shots. Hopefully, we’re learning. Hopefully, we’re getting better. But if we continue to play like that, I don’t know of too many good teams that we can beat.”

Not in his cheeriest mood, Boehler went deeper in critiquing his team.

“We just didn’t play very fundamental,” he emphasized. “I don’t know how many times we just didn’t get [Maurer] checked out [for rebounds]. We knew he was their big inside presence and they were going to go to him with the basketball. … We just don’t do a very good job of checking people out, regardless of who it is, and he really made us pay today.”

Boehler said that in the future, he would like to see all West Vigo players go hard to the boards when they’re in the game.

“We’re just going to have to keep searching to find someone who really wants to rebound for us,” he added, “but we don’t have one person who wants to do that.”

West Vigo will have a consolation-bracket matchup with Casey at 4 today.

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