Canistota High School boys' basketball team downs Marion to wrap up Cornbelt Conference TournamentMENNO — The Canistota High School boys’ basketball team has been trying to find its rhythm over the past few weeks.
By: Justin Rust, The Daily Republic
MENNO — The Canistota High School boys’ basketball team has been trying to find its rhythm over the past few weeks.
However, Canistota, which is ranked fifth in Class B in the latest South Dakota Sportswriters’ Association poll, is still able to rely on its defense, which the Hawks leaned on for a 52-41 victory over Marion Saturday at the Cornbelt Conference tournament at Menno High School.
“I thought our defense is what sparked our offense today,” Canistota coach Pat Jolley said. “We still looked a little rusty in our offense with all of the practices and snow days, but I thought our defense got us momentum.
“We scored on some steals and scored in transition, and that kind of got us going.”
Canistota (11-2) led for much of the first half — Marion (8-5) did take a 17-16 lead early in the second quarter — and the Hawks went into halftime with a 24-23 lead.
But right away in the third quarter, Marion’s 6-foot-7 senior forward Phil Luke scored a bucket in the paint, was fouled and converted the three-point play to give the Bears a 26-24 lead. Canistota tied it at 26, but a baseline drive by Luke put Marion back on top 28-26.
A Marion free throw put the Bears up 29-26, but the lead was short lived as Alex Robertson’s jumper from the right elbow with 3 minutes, 30 seconds left in the third quarter put the Hawks up for good at 30-29.
“We played hard and at times, we just seemed to let the game get away from us,” Marion coach Dustin Wolforth said. “When they went on that run, they got a few turnovers, got up-and-down and turned it into a quick-paced game.
“We can’t play that style of ball, and that’s where the game got away from us. It’s hard to recover from things like that.”
Marion kept the game close, trailing 36-33 at the end of the third quarter, but with a one minute left in the game, Canistota had built a double-digit lead.
“You can’t let good teams get a big lead on you,” Wolforth said. “You can’t make that up.”
One of the adjustments Canistota made at halftime was dealing with Marion’s height. Besides Luke, the Bears also have 6-foot-4 Braden Schmidt.
“We changed the way we were defending their screens on the ball, because their screen and rolls were hurting us in the first half,” Jolley said. “We made some adjustments and we did a better job in the second half.”
Robertson led Canistota with 24 points and seven rebounds and Sam Jolley chipped in 11 points, five assists and five steals.
Luke had a double-double in the loss with 18 points and 10 rebounds and Schmidt added 10 points for Marion.
C 15 24 36 52
M 11 23 33 41