Owls stage late rally late to beat Odessa
GRAIN VALLEY -- When the second-seeded Marshall boys' basketball team saw that Odessa was placed at the bottom of the heap for the Grain Valley Tournament, it's reaction may well have been, "Are you kidding me?"
The Owls knew, or at least should have, that this was a dangerous opponent in their pool -- after being pushed to overtime during a 58-49 season-opening win over the Bulldogs. Although Odessa had lost four straight and was without one of its big men, senior forward Branden Barker, it came to play Monday.
Fortunately for Marshall, a 14-2 rally during the final 1:54 provided it a 66-60 victory -- and, with another previous victim (Oak Grove) yet to play in Thursday's second pool contest, its best chance of reaching the finals since Paseo all-stater Quentin Day lit up the Owls for 31 points during an 80-59 loss in 2003.
This was a game of runs, Marshall scoring eight in a row at one point and the 'Dogs responding in kind. However, Odessa had no answer for junior point guard Anthony Thompson, who scored 15 second-half points and took control down the stretch.
"There were times when we played well, but we weren't consistent with it," noted MHS head coach Mike Baker. "Give credit to Odessa. They're a scrappy bunch. They handle our press and zone real well."
Two Thompson lay-ups and another by senior Devin Moon closed the margin to two points. Thompson came up with a steal, resulting in a pair of game-tying free throws by senior Landon Franklin. After the Bulldogs missed a shot, junior Cody Dusenberry connected on a jumper with 54 seconds left to put the Owls in front.
Marshall finished it off at the free-throw line, Franklin and Thompson each stroking in a pair during crunch time -- the Owls going 12 of 15 from the stripe during the fourth quarter.
Senior Michael Janes had 14 points and four rebounds to lead the 'Dogs (5-7).
Thompson recorded a triple-double -- 22 points, 10 rebounds and 11 assists -- and came up with six steals to pace Marshall. Moon provided 16 points and 11 rebounds, despite sitting much of the second half in foul trouble, and Franklin tallied 14 points.
The Owls (9-4) have a couple of days to prepare for Oak Grove, which is an important opponent since it -- like Odessa -- is a fellow Class 4, District 14 member.
"Games like this make you a better team as long as you learn how you get yourself into that position," Baker declared. "I think we did."