Lions "vandalize" Vandalia
Marshall forces turnovers, advances to regional title game
FLORA - Heading into the postseason, the top-seeded team in Sub-Sectional A of the Shelbyville 2A Sectional wasn't exactly playing its best basketball.

Or so it seemed.

The Marshall Lions, after winning 22-of-25 games to begin the season, limped into the 2A Flora Regional having lost their final three regular season contests.

But even in the defeats, against some good teams, Coach John Webber saw signs that his team was going to put its best foot forward when the postseason started.

He was spot on in his assessment, at least for the first postseason contest.

In their semifinal game against Vandalia on Tuesday night the Lions got an early lead and never let up.

Defensively Marshall was too much for the Vandals, as they took the ball from the number seven seed at will.

Forcing 19 turnovers, many of which turned into transition points, Coach Webber saw his club get a lot of easy chances which ballooned into an 88-48 win where the outcome wasn't in doubt by halftime.

Shutting down the Vandals' fast break was a priority for Marshall coming into the game.

“We knew that they (Vandalia) knew how to fly up the court and they get a lot of 3's up. They shoot the ball very well and so we knew we had to have good transition defense and get them stopped,” said Coach Webber. “We felt like we could get them stopped to the point that they would have to play halfcourt offense. We felt like our length and our speed would effect them and we felt we had an advantage on the boards. We wanted them to be 'one and done' so we could get the rebound and go the other way.”

When they weren't shooting lay ups, the Lions were nailing down 3-pointers.

Twelve of them, as a matter of fact.

Ten different Marshall players scored points in the conquest, which moved the club into the regional championship game.

Marshall is now 23-6 on the season and can collect the program's first boy's regional championship since 2009 with a win Friday night.

The Lions will face the winner of the Salem/Shelbyville game, which will be played Wednesday night at Conley Gymnasium.

Of the ten Lions who netted points, four of them were in double-figures.

Five-foot-eleven junior guard Daniel Tingley and 5-foot-10 senior guard Ethan Keown scored 17 and 15 points respectively.

Tingley scored 13 of his 17 in the first two quarters while Keown inked the book in a long distance manor.

He canned five 3-pointers in the game as Marshall, as a team, hit 12-of-24 from the arc.

Six-foot-seven senior forward Jesse Burdick added 15 points despite missing nearly the entire second quarter with two fouls.

Senior guard Jaden Wallace tossed in 14 points and added two of the 3-point shots to his credit.

Five other players had at least four points as it didn't matter which combination that Coach Webber used.

For Vandalia the season comes to an end at 17-16.

Head coach Brian Buscher's Vandals were led in scoring by junior guard Mitchell Casey who ended up with 18 points.

Sophomore Carson Ruot added 11 for Vandalia while senior Matthew Wells closed out his prep hardwood career with eight.

The numbers reflected the domination.

Marshall was 37-of-63 from the floor (25-of-39 from inside the 3-point line) for 58.7 percent.

The Lions, even playing at a break-neck pace, committed just seven turnovers with only three in the first half as they ended the drama early.

The Vandals numbers weren't good as they were just 16-of-45 from the field (35.5 percent) and they were also dominated on the glass.

Marshall reigned supreme on the boards, 33-19 and the Lions gave up a scant six offensive rebounds in the game.

Missing shots, turning the ball over and not getting second chances was a mixture that sent the Vandals out of the tournament.

It took a little more than a minute before Marshall made its first big run with many more to follow.

Trailing 2-0 in the early moments, the Lions went on a 15-3 run.

Six-foot-three senior Ethan Harper score all six of his points in this spree with all coming inside the paint.

He also picked up a nice assist on a back door cut by Wallace for a easy lay in.

A 3-pointer by Wallace, a steal and transition score from Burdick and another Harper score gave Marshall its first double-figure lead at 15-5.

Vandalia got a 3-pointer by Wells but consecutive baskets from Tingley, one of which was a 3-pointer, gave the Lions a 22-13 lead at the first horn.

A 10-2 run to open the second quarter signaled the beginning of the end for Vandalia.

Marshall nailed down five of their 3-pointers in the period.

Two of them were in the early run with both coming from Keown.

His second one, after a steal and fast break score from Wallace, made it 32-15 with just under six minutes to go before halftime.

Ruot hit two free throws for Vandalia to stop the run but it was a band-aid where a tourniquet was needed.

The next run, an 11-0 sprint, ended any real hope for Coach Buscher's team.

In the second quarter, Wallace made three steals that all turned into points for Marshall.

Wallace scored on a lay in and got the ball to Tingley for an easy fast break score.

Tingley also collected two of his 3-pointers and when his second one in the run found the mark, the Lions were up 43-17 with 2:37 showing on the second quarter clock.

The Vandals got points from Casey, a 3-pointer, and Rout before the half.

However Marshall junior reserve Luke Cook got in on some of the fun with another fast break conversion for the team and also another 3-pointer.

Junior Ben Ross closed the half with a fast break lay in that beat the buzzer for a 52-24 spread at the break.

“Our bench guys came in tonight and played well. It is a good learning experience for them and you don't know how the playoffs are going to go, the postseason, so if we get into some foul trouble, we have sickness or injuries those bench guys have to be able to step up,” said Coach Webber.

Some teams with that large of an advantage at the half would have a let down coming out in the third quarter.

That didn't happen with Marshall.

A 10-3 run to start the third quarter was sparked by a pair of 3-pointers by Keown.

Burdick, after being on the bench and rested in the second quarter with two fouls, added a pair of inside scores.

His second one turned into a conventional three-point play.

Burdick's converted free toss made it 63-27 with 4:06 left.

Perhaps the only rough patch the Lions had was at the end of the third quarter as Vandalia, with Casey adding up consecutive 3-pointers, made an 8-0 run as the stanza ended at 67-37.

Coach Webber's club extended the lead in the fourth quarter during the continuous running clock with the 30-point mercy rule in effect.

Vandalia added to its turnover total with four more miscues that all turned into points.

Burdick scored on a pair of transition baskets, with one of them a one-handed dunk.

A 3-pointer and drive in the lane by Wallace in between the two Burdick buckets extended the lead to its maximum at 83-40 before both teams emptied the benches.

“I think the kids came in tonight 'dialed in'. The second half of the Linton-Stockton game proved that if we come out 'locked and focused' we can play with anyone,” said Coach Webber, about a game against the number two ranked 2A team in Indiana. “They (Linton-Stockton) are good and they got up 27 on us in the first half but we battled back and cut it to five. We chipped away and played with a sense of urgency. We got ourselves in a hole the last three games of the year (losses) but I think that if we come out and play the way we did tonight we can go far in the tournament.”

2A Flora Regional Semifinals

Vandalia (48)
– Ruot 3 0 5-7 11, Laack 0 0 0-0 0, Wells 2 1 1-1 8, Austin 0 1 1-2 4, Satterhwaite 0 0 0-0 0, Well 0 0 0-0 0, Hagy 0 0 0-0 0, Casey 2 4 2-2 18, Beall 0 0 0-0 0, Tarkington 1 1 0-2 5, Goldsmith 1 0 0-0 2, Rosborough 0 0 0-0 0, Ray 0 0 0-0 0.
2FG-9, 3FG-7, FT-9-14, PF-10.
Marshall (88)
– Brown 0 0 0-0 0, Keown 0 5 0-0 15, Tingley 4 3 0-0 17, Ross 1 1 0-0 5, Cook 1 1 0-0 5, Wallace 4 2 0-0 14, Burdick 7 0 1-2 15, Shaffner 2 0 1-2 5, Medsker 1 0 0-0 2, Harper 3 0 0-0 6, Rees 2 0 0-1 4.
2FG-25, 3FG-12, FT-2-5, PF-13.
Fouled Out
– None.
Technical Fouls
– None.