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End-game again unkind to Owls

Friday, January 11, 2013

(Photo)
Ten of the Owls' 15 field goals were three-pointers, including four by sophomore Conner Cooley (2).
(Chris Allen/Democrat-News)
For the second time in three days, the Marshall boys' basketball team came down the stretch with a chance to tie a game in the closing seconds Thursday.

However, the Owls couldn't get it done, dropping a 46-43 non-conference decision to visiting Oak Grove.

As was the case earlier in the week at Kirksville, also a three-point loss, MHS head coach Jason Varner couldn't be happier with his team's effort.

"They're playing hard," Varner declared. "Everybody's stepped up."

Marshall is still trying to adjust to an injury to all-NCMC senior guard Alex Maupin, Varner tweaking the offense to "open up the floor and make sure everybody gets a good look."

"Everybody knows they have to score," he explained. "Fortunately, we always have five guys on the floor who can shoot the ball, which is a great thing."

Early on, it looked as though that was going to pay off for the Owls -- who got a pair of three-pointers each from senior Ben Valencia and sophomore Conner Cooley to take a 24-15 lead into halftime.

The Panthers slowed down Marshall during the third quarter, senior Cole Doherty scoring a deuce and then converting a four-point play to cut the deficit to two points heading into the final frame.

The teams were deadlocked twice during the final two minutes. Oak Grove went up by four points on a pair of free throws by junior Tanner Kanak before Valencia made it a one-possession contest by sinking one of two from the charity stripe with 19 seconds left.

The Owls came up with a stop on defense, but Cooley was fouled before he could unload a potential game-tying bomb with one-tenth of a second remaining. He missed the front end of a one-and-one, but even making both wouldn't have been enough.

Senior Derrick Dow had 13 points and Doherty 12 for the Panthers (4-4).

Cooley scored 14 points, downing four treys, and junior Zach Glassmaker chipped in with 11 points and seven rebounds for Marshall (2-8).

The Owls will try to snap a seven-game skid Saturday when they host NCMC rival Hannibal.



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