Prep Basketball

Marion boys' basketball caps a great week with win over Mount Vernon in battle of ranked 3A teams

Indians beat Mustangs, 59-55, their second win over ranked team this week

Marion's Will Henricksen (23) holds up three fingers after making a 3-pointer in a state tournament game at Wells Fargo
Marion's Will Henricksen (23) holds up three fingers after making a 3-pointer in a state tournament game at Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines on Tuesday, Mar. 5, 2019. (The Gazette)

MARION — What a week.

What a three days, to be specific, for the Marion boys’ basketball team. The Indians knocked off a pair of ranked opponents, including Mount Vernon, 59-55, Thursday night.

That’s sole possession of first place in the rugged Wamac Conference East Division as a result. No, that doesn’t mean a ton with so much basketball left to be played.

But, still, this was impressive stuff.

“That’s two great wins,” said Marion guard Will Henricksen. “But it won’t matter come postseason time. We’ve got to continue to get better.”

Marion (9-1, 8-1) won at Class 2A fifth-rated Dyersville Beckman on a last-second Jaffer Murphy shot Tuesday night. Here it was vanquishing 3A’s No. 2 team.

Beckman beat Mount Vernon (9-2, 9-2) just hours after the latest Associated Press boys’ poll came out Monday night. DeWitt Central is right there with just two conference losses as well.

“It’s early still,” said first-year head coach Pete Messerli. “It’s a rugged league, we’re playing really good teams. Even the teams that may have lower records are still really good. We’ve seen that, too. We’re just taking it day by day. I know that’s cliche, but that’s the truth.”

Marion, which jumped back into the 3A poll this week at 10th, built a 16-1 advantage in the first quarter and never relinquished that lead, though Mount Vernon did get within three a couple of times late in the fourth quarter. The Mustangs even had a good 3-point look to tie from outstanding junior wing Keaton Kutcher with 10 seconds left that didn’t quite fall.

Murphy’s free throw with 9.1 left iced the game.

ARTICLE CONTINUES BELOW ADVERTISEMENT

“They were two phenomenal teams, and we knew we had to work hard in practice and keep grinding and try and pull it out in the end,” Murphy said. “Just like we did on Tuesday and again tonight. A lot of battles and just a team effort. We came through and won the games.”

“We kind of let them do what they wanted to do the first three or four minutes,” said Mount Vernon Coach Ed Timm. “We’ve had a tendency to do that at times. Then we kind of took some things away and chipped our way back. Against two good likes like that, you just can’t get down that far.”

Henricksen had a game-high 20 points for Marion, including six 3-pointers, a couple of clutch ones in the second half to temporarily quell Mount Vernon rallies. Murphy added 13 points.

Kutcher had 17 points and Noah Erickson 16 for MV, which was playing its third game in four days. It won Tuesday night at West Delaware.

AT MARION

MOUNT VERNON (55): Noah Erickson 7-13 2-7 16, Derek Jordan 1-2 0-0 2, Keaton Kutcher 6-18 1-2 17, Nolan Brand 0-3 2-2 2, Collin Swantz 1-4 1-2 4, Jayden Meeker 4-8 0-0 11, Kaleb Brand 0-1 0-0 0, Owen Braser 1-2 0-0 3. Totals 20-51 6-13 55.

MARION (59): Connor Whalen 2-6 3-4 7, Gage Franck 2-7 2-3 7, Jaffer Murphy 5-9 1-2 13, Will Henricksen 7-13 0-1 20, Brayson Laube 2-2 0-0 6, Lucas Unsen 1-1 1-2 3, Garret Wagner 0-0 0-0 0, Cael Hodges 1-1 0-0 3, Ryan Paulsen 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 20-39 7-12 59.

Halftime — Marion 34, Mount Vernon 25. 3-point goals — Mount Vernon 9-25 (Erickson 0-1, Kutcher 4-11, Swantz 1-4, Meeker 3-6, Brase 1-2), Marion 12-21 (Franck 1-4, Henricksen 6-9, Murphy 2-5, Laube 2-2, Hodges 1-1). Rebounds — Mount Vernon 27 (Meeker 6), Marion 29 (Murphy 7). Total fouls — Mount Vernon 16, Marion 15. Fouled out — Laube. Turnovers — Mount Vernon 9, Marion 14.

Comments: (319) 398-8259; jeff.johnson@thegazette.com

Give us feedback

We value your trust and work hard to provide fair, accurate coverage. If you have found an error or omission in our reporting, tell us here.

Or if you have a story idea we should look into? Tell us here.

Give us feedback

We value your trust and work hard to provide fair, accurate coverage. If you have found an error or omission in our reporting, tell us here.

Or if you have a story idea we should look into? Tell us here.