Prep Basketball

Marion beats South Tama to move to 3-0 for first time in ... awhile

Cedar Rapids Xavier's Matthew Mims (5) picks up a loose ball as Marion's Jaffer Murphy (32) defends during the third quarter of their quarterfinal game of the Iowa Boys' State Basketball Tournament at Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines on Tuesday, Mar. 6, 2018. (Stephen Mally/The Gazette)
Cedar Rapids Xavier's Matthew Mims (5) picks up a loose ball as Marion's Jaffer Murphy (32) defends during the third quarter of their quarterfinal game of the Iowa Boys' State Basketball Tournament at Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines on Tuesday, Mar. 6, 2018. (Stephen Mally/The Gazette)

MARION — Take a handful of guys with considerable varsity experience and mix in a junior class that didn’t lose a game last season on the sophomore level. Sprinkle in a couple of current 10th graders.

Top it off with the inevitable emotional bump you get from making it to the state tournament for the first time in seven years, and this is what you have with these Marion Indians: a pretty darn good basketball team.

“We’re trying to take this program to the next level,” Marion’s Will Henricksen said, after his team’s 72-18 win Tuesday night over South Tama. “I feel like state should be a goal for us every year instead of just every 10.”

Henricksen had a game-high 23 points as the Indians improved to 3-0 for the first time since ... well, no one is quite sure. QuikStats only goes back to the 2006-07 season, and Mike Manderscheid said he had no idea if perhaps Corby Laube, his predecessor as head coach, might have had a team win its first three games of the season.

To be honest, he didn’t seem to care that much. It’s about continuing to work, get better and take each game as it comes.

The old coach’s cliche.

“We have always had a 4A game early: (Cedar Rapids) Jefferson for awhile, Kennedy for two years,” he said. “That makes it a little tough. But, yeah, this is nice. We’ll take it. It’s better than being 0-3.”

The coach loves that he can go 10 players deep in his rotation and not lose much, if anything. Senior Trevor Paulsen and sophomore Owen Puk are the only guys on the roster taller than 6-foot-1, and they both go only 6-3.

But quickness and athleticism abounds. A lot of guys contribute.

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“There are a lot of things I like with this team,” Manderscheid said. “I was just telling them in the locker room after the game, I like it because we can go pretty much five-on-five (in practice) and get something out of it. That’s a real luxury to be able to do that because not a lot of teams can do that. We can go five-on-five and get better. If we can get better defensively, that will help our offense out, too.”

This game was 28-2 after the first quarter and 54-7 at halftime. South Tama (0-4) is in rebuilding mode after pushing Cedar Rapids Xavier in a Class 3A substate final last season.

Its top player, Keith Keahna, is out with an injury, too. Henricksen was the only player in the game to score in double figures, with Paulsen and guard Austin Prier adding eight points each for Marion.

“It was just another opportunity to get better and take another shot at our ultimate goal, which is to win state,” Henricksen said. “You’ve always got to respect your opponent. It’s 32 minutes of practice (in a sense) to get better.”

AT MARION

SOUTH TAMA (18): Lane Lekin 0-4 0-0 0, Eli Keahna 3-5 0-0 6, Tyrin Lasley 1-7 0-0 2, Cameron Klostermann 0-0 0-0 0, Matthew Wiese 0-3 0-0 0, Sonny Demarce 1-5 0-0 2, Bishop Chavez 1-4 0-0 3, Wes Upah 0-0 0-0 0, Lincoln Kingbird 1-2 0-0 3, Hector Ramirez 0-0 0-0 0, Rogelio Flores 1-3 0-0 2. Totals 8-33 0-0 18.

MARION (72): Trevor Paulsen 3-4 2-2 8, Mason Rahe 1-2 0-0 2, Will Henricksen 7-9 8-8 23, Gage Franck 3-4 0-0 7, Matthew Brase 2-2 0-0 5, Owen Puk 0-2 2-4 2, Jaffer Murphy 0-1 2-2 2, Connor Whalen 3-5 0-0 6, Austin Prier 3-3 0-0 8, Ju’Corey Higgins 1-2 0-0 2, Sam Finley 1-3 0-0 3, Brandon Whitson 1-3 0-0 2, Austin Griest 1-2 0-2 2, Colton Clark 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 26-43 14-18 72.

Halftime — Marion 54, South Tama 7. 3-point goals — South Tama 2-12 (Lekin 0-1, Lasley 0-2, Wiese 0-2, Demarce 0-1, Chavez 1-2, Kingbird 1-1, Flores 0-2), Marion 6-10 (Henricksen 1-1, Franck 1-2, Brase 1-1, Puk 0-1, Prier 2-2, Finley 1-2, Griest 0-1). Rebounds — South Tama 13 (Demarce 3), Marion 28 (Murphy 4). Total fouls — South Tama 15, Marion 5. Fouled out — None. Turnovers — South Tama 21, Marion 7.

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

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