MARENGO – Marengo was adept at maintaining the lead from late in the first quarter through the rest of the game.
The Indians, however, struggled at putting away Genoa-Kingston.
A few turnovers, some missed field goals and some errant free throws, along with G-K’s six second-half 3-pointers, kept things interesting until the last minute.
Finally, Nick Wascher and Matt Volkening tossed in six free throws in the last 33 seconds, and the Indians had a 53-46 victory over the Cogs in their nonconference game Tuesday at Homer “Bill” Barry Gymnasium.
Marengo (8-8) won for the fourth time in five games. Its last win came Dec. 29 for third place in its own E.C. Nichols Holiday Tournament, 58-49, over G-K.
“They’re a scrappy team,” Indians coach Nate Wright said of the Cogs. “They were doing things to play with a team that outsized them at every position. We didn’t do a good job recognizing some openings when they doubled. It’s a good game film to watch. They’re going to say, ‘Look how wide open we are.’ It’s good to get a win and learn a lot of lessons at the same time.”
Wascher finished with a game-high 17 points and hit his last four free throws, with 33 and 21 seconds remaining. Volkening then hit two more with nine seconds to go.
Marengo was 3 for 8 at the line in the fourth quarter until that point. Fortunately for the Indians, G-K was 6 of 18 from the line for the game.
“It was nice to make some free throws at the end,” Wascher said. “We worked really well as a team (in the fourth), got the ball moving, and that’s how we were successful. I think we let our guard down a little bit (in the third). We saw the scoreboard – we were up 10 – and we eased up a little bit, and they kept fighting back.”
Marengo had a 47-43 lead with 46 seconds remaining after Aiden Smith’s free throw. After a G-K timeout, Indians forward Finn Schirmer picked off a Cogs pass, and Wascher was fouled.
“We didn’t make our shots in the first half, but we did a good job locking them up on the defensive end and going after rebounds,” forward Brock Bertrand said. “We played as a team in the second half, running through all our plays and getting each other the ball. That really helped.”
The Indians outrebounded G-K, 49-33, with Smith leading the way with 13 and Wascher with 10. Volkening, a 6-foot-3 freshman, had three putback baskets in the second quarter and added 10 points.
“I felt it was too close at halftime,” said Wright, whose team was up, 24-18. “We just couldn’t make a shot. I felt like we could have had 35 or 40 points.”
Cogs coach Ethan Franklin also was frustrated with his team’s shooting woes. G-K hit three 3s in both the third and fourth quarters to keep it close.
“Our free-throw shooting and pretty much everything else shooting was atrocious for the entire game, and that’s what really cost us,” Franklin said.
Griffin Hansen led G-K with 11 points.
STAR OF THE GAME
Nick Wascher, Marengo, sr., G
Wascher scored a game-high 17 points and grabbed 10 rebounds to lead the Indians to victory. He hit four crucial free throws in the last 33 seconds to seal the outcome.
6: The 3-pointers made by Genoa-Kingston in the second half, which kept the Cogs close. They made only two 2-pointers in the first half, along with six free throws.
AND ANOTHER THING...
Both teams struggled at the free-throw line until the last minute. Wascher twice made two free throws, then freshman Matt Volkening also made a pair. They were the only players in the game to make two free throws in one trip to the line.
Marengo 53, Genoa-Kingston 46
Peters 0 0-2 0, Nesler 4 2-7 10, Hansen 4 0-0 11, Franson 3 1-2 9, Fugate 0 0-0 0, Schwichtenberg 3 1-2 9, Marth 2 1-3 6, Rice 0 1-2 1, Mullins 0 0-0 0, Stojan 0 0-0 0, Skarzynski 0 0-0 0. Totals: 16 6-18 46.
Wascher 5 5-7 17, Smith 2 1-2 6, Volkening 3 4-6 10, Schirmer 2 0-1 4, Bertrand 2 2-4 6, Cannon 1 0-0 3, Bibbings 2 0-0 5, Rowley 0 0-0 0, Ferden 1 0-0 2, Clavey 0 0-0 0, Nolen 0 0-0 0. Totals: 18 12-20 53.
Genoa-Kingston 8 10 16 12 – 46
Marengo 10 14 14 15 – 53
3-point goals: Genoa-Kingston 8 (Hansen 3, Franson 2, Schwichtenberg 2, Marth), Marengo 5 (Wascher 2, Smith, Cannon, Bibbings). Total fouls: Genoa-Kingston 18, Marengo 14. Fouled out: Nesler.