Although it was competitive throughout the first quarter, East Marion (3-4) ramped up the defensive intensity and scored in bunches to beat West Marion (0-3) 77-35 on the road Nov. 27.
The Trojans came out firing, drilling five three-pointers in the first quarter alone, but the Eagles defense quickly switched into another gear. East Marion consistently forced turnovers and scored on easy buckets in transition, which included highlight dunks by Vashon Sims and Caleb Rawls.
Caleb Rawls led the Eagles with 16 points, while John Rawls, Sims and Flenard McLin were all in double figures.
“I just felt like we had a little more firepower than them,” Eagles head coach Calvin Brown said. “They did come out shooting it well, but it’s hard to shoot like that for four quarters. And we were getting a lot of easy looks.”
West Marion head coach Mark Stringer said the Eagles’ size and athleticism caused a lot of problems for the Trojans.
“Against East Marion, and really anybody we’ll play, they are 6-foot-7 or 6-foot-6, and we’re 6-foot-1, 5-foot-10 and 5-foot-11. That’s the main thing,” he said. “The size, rebounding and their defense has size everywhere. So we have to depend on the outside shot more than anything. Early on we were hitting them, then afterwards we cooled off and that was it. East Marion is really good, too.”
Stringer added with the lack of size that the Trojans’ guards, Ketarious Cotton, Dustin Thornhill and Jartavious Martin, will be the strength of the team despite missing a couple key pieces.
“In football we had our two best guards (Qavonte Swanigan and Daqwan Jones) hurt. (Jones) is out until January,” he said. “I have a totally brand new team. We’re starting completely from scratch.”
It was the first game for the Eagles with their full roster after football season came to a close, which sparked the team.
“There was some enthusiasm and excitement about having everybody back,” Brown said. “But we need practice.”
Cotton and O’Marion Husband are the only two returners who have experience for the Trojans, and the rest of the West Marion squad will need to grow up quickly after beginning district play Tuesday night (results unavailable at press time). Stringer said Region 8-3A is just as competitive in basketball as it is in football.
“We need to get a lot better because our district is really good. Seminary is probably going to be one of the lower-level (teams), and even they are really good. Wesson is better. Columbia is better. Jeff Davis is good,” he said. “They’re all good.”
West Marion will play at Salem Friday night before hosting Enterprise on Tuesday.
Pictured Above: West Marion's Jamaz Peters drives into the paint against East Marion. | Photo by Joshua Campbell