Prep Basketball

Marion boys' basketball routs Williamsburg in Coach Pete Messerli's debut

Senior Will Henricksen leads Indians to 51-point first half

Marion Indians
Marion Indians

MARION — A successful debut was quite revealing.

It is clear first-year Marion boys’ basketball coach Pete Messerli has a heck of a group to work with.

“They got off to a fast start,” Messerli said after the Indians routed Williamsburg, 65-41, in the Wamac Conference season opener for both schools Tuesday night at Marion High School. “It is the first game. As much as you want it to, it is not going to be perfect.”

A 2002 Marion graduate, Messerli was hired as the boys’ head coach in April after seven seasons as an assistant with the Marion girls’ team. Messerli replaced Mike Manderscheid, who is now the Marion athletics director. Messerli has brought a new system that he hopes will emphasize the strengths of a group that has reached the state tournament in both of the last two years.

“We are getting up and down more,” Marion senior guard Will Henricksen said. “We are a quicker team this year, faster pace. I think that kind of suits our play style.”

Marion (1-0, 1-0 Wamac) was plenty perfect in the first half as it used a 17-2 first quarter burst to build a double-digit lead that ballooned to 26 points by halftime. Henricksen posted 14 of his game-high 22 points in a 51-point first half for the Indians.

“He can get buckets at will, no pun intended,” Messerli said. “It is very good. You want to have shot makers. He is in the gym a lot. He earns that confidence based on the work he has put in. Very good shooter, a quick guy. We can do a lot of things with him.”

The Indians led by as many as 30 points early in the third quarter. Senior Connor Whalen scored 12 points and grabbed a team-high six rebounds, while junior Owen Puk added eight points.

Jaffer Murphy and Brayson Laube each scored seven points for the Indians.

Senior Draven Williams led Williamsburg (0-1, 0-1) with 13 points and nine rebounds.

The Raiders host DeWitt Central this Friday, while the Indians visit Center Point-Urbana.

Boys’ basketball

AT MARION

Marion 65, Williamsburg 41

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WILLIAMSBURG (41): Jake Weber 1 0-0 3, Gabe Schlabaugh 0 0-2 0, Ryan Cavett 3 0-0 9, Kaden Wetjen 4 1-2 12, Levi Weldon 1 0-0 2, Austin Burns 0 0-0 0, John Steinmetz 1 0-0 2, Grayson Gahring 0 0-1 0, Draven Williams 5 3-4 13, Tanner Curtin 0 0-0 0, Marshall Meyer 0 0-0 0, Totals 15 4-9 41.

MARION (65): Brayson Laube 2 104 7, Jaffer Murphy 3 0-0 7, Cael Hodges 0 0-0, Connor Whalen 6 0-0 12, Owen Puk 2 2-2 8, Gage Franck 1 3-3 6, Brandon Whitson 1 0-0 2, Will Henricksen 8 1-1 22, Jaqson Tejada 0 0-0 0, Ryan Paulsen 0 0-1 0, Sam Finley 0 0-0 0, Lucas Unsen 0 0-0 0, Colton Clark 0 0-1 0, Scott Fischer 0 0-0 0, Garret Wagner 0 1-2 1, Totals 23 8-13 65.

Halftime — Marion, 51-25. Three-point goals — Williamsburg 7 (Cavett 3, Wetjen 3, Weber 1); Marion 11 (Henricksen 5, Laube 2, Puk 2, Franck 1, Murphy 1). Rebounds — Williamsburg 26 (Williams 9); Marion 24 (Whalen 6). Total fouls — Williamsburg 18, Marion 13. Fouled out — None.

Comments: douglas.miles@thegazette.com

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