MARION — A close win. Finally.
Quite a significant close win Tuesday night for Dyersville Beckman.
“Pretty huge for us,” said forward Michael Keegan, after his Blazers knocked off Marion, 50-47, in yet another Wamac Conference boys’ basketball thriller.
Marion came in the top-ranked team in Class 3A, Beckman was seventh in 2A.
Beckman’s three losses this season have been by three points and two points (twice). That included a demoralizing buzzer-beater defeat in mid-January to Marion at Dyersville.
The Blazers’ closest win before Tuesday was by 10 points.
“Losing three games by a combined seven points, finally getting one really boosts our confidence,” said Keegan, who had a game-high 16 points. “Especially getting it down here. We know what they can do, they are a great team. Came down to Coach telling us what we had to do, and we got it done.”
“Last year, we were such a junior-led team, we played in so many close games and did a really good job executing late in games,” said Beckman Coach Michael Molony. “We knew how to win ... This year, we’ve been a team that has played really, really well consistently. I think we’ve been one of the most consistent teams in our league, but we just hadn’t had that close one to get over the hump. Now we have that in the back pocket, that feather in our cap.”
Beckman (15-3, 13-3 in the Wamac East) led the entire game with the exception of about a minute and 50 seconds midway through the fourth quarter. That’s when Connor Whalen scored off a pick-and-roll play to put Marion (15-2, 13-2) up for the very first time, 43-42.
But Mason White’s baseline drive put the Blazers back ahead with 2:57 to go, and they never trailed again. It was a 48-47 game with 10.6 left, with Luke Goedken’s layup after a press break providing the final score.
Marion’s last gasp ended in a turnover.
“A lot of similarities between the two teams,” said Marion Coach Pete Messerli. “We didn’t play our best game tonight. But when you play good teams, sometimes that’s because of the opponent. Credit to Dyersville. We’re going to use this as a learning opportunity, go back to practice tomorrow because we have a really big game Friday at DeWitt. Just try to keep inching forward and get better.”
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Marion became number one this week for the first time in school history after last week’s number one, Norwalk, was beaten. There has been no more topsy turvy class than 3A, where there are no unbeatens and everyone has at least two losses, with the exception of Carroll, which has one.
“We addressed it yesterday,” Messerli said. “Here’s the thing, it’s a great honor to have. You’d rather be ranked number one than not be ranked number one, because it means you’re doing some good things. But that didn’t have one iota of impact tonight. We’ve played the same from when we were unranked two months ago, to being ranked 10th, to second and then first. It’s basketball, we are what we are and do what we do regardless of the number.”
The statistics in this game were virtually dead even across the board with the exception of success from 3-point land, and that turned out to be the difference. Beckman 7 of 16 from beyond the arc to Marion’s 2 of 15.
Tom Jaeger matched Keegan with three treys for Beckman, finishing with 15 points. Gage Franck had 11 points, and Whalen and Jaffer Murphy 10 each for Marion, which dropped into a first-place tie in the Wamac East with Mount Vernon.
DYERSVILLE BECKMAN (50): Michael Keegan 4-9 5-5 16, Jack Gehling 3-5 1-2 7, Mason White 2-10 1-4 5, Tom Jaeger 6-7 0-0 15, Luke Goedken 3-4 0-0 7, Jack Westhoff 0-2 0-0 0, Sean Kluesner 0-0 0-0 0, Logan Goedken 0-2 0-0 0, Jacob Hermsen 0-0 0-0 0, Evan Schlarmann 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 18-39 7-11 50.
MARION (47): Connor Whalen 5-8 0-2 10, Gage Franck 4-10 2-2 11, Will Henricksen 4-12 0-0 6, Jaffer Murphy 4-6 2-2 10, Brayson Laube 1-4 3-3 6, Lucas Unsen 0-1 0-0 0, Garret Wagner 1-2 0-0 2, Cael Hodges 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 19-43 7-9 47.
Halftime — Beckman 29, Marion 26. 3-point goals — Beckman 7-16 (Keegan 3-5, White 0-5, Jaeger 3-3, Lu. Goedken 1-1, Lo. Goedken 0-2), Maron 2-15 (Franck 1-6, Henricksen 0-4, Murphy 0-1, Laube 1-4). Rebounds — Beckman 24 (Gehling 6), Marion 25 (Whalen 7). Total fouls — Beckman 12, Marion 15. Fouled out — None. Turnovers — Beckman 12, Marion 12.
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