Indians rally past Wildcat boys

MORAN — In its first seven games of the season, Marmaton Valley High’s boys have wound up on the short end of an overtime contest, a double-overtime tilt, a two-point loss in their final possession of regulation and a six-point defeat last week.
So it was all too strikingly familiar on Tuesday when Marmaton Valley was unable to hold an eight-point lead after three quarters against visiting St. Paul High.
The Indians hit several clutch free throws down the stretch and the Wildcats came up empty on their final possession of a 56-54 loss.
The defeat drops Marmaton Valley to 2-5 on the season.
“One or two points here or there ...” began Wildcat head coach Denny Lasley. “We just can’t finish.”
Marmaton Valley trailed by two in the waning seconds, and freshman Tanner McNutt broke away from a defender to find him wide open beneath the basket.
“But we just didn’t see him,” Lasley said. “We never got the ball to him.”
The game was a back-and-forth affair with wild momentum swings.
St. Paul led 11-2 early before the Wildcats deployed a full-court press to trigger a 23-6 run.
“We finally settled down on offense,” Lasley said.
Marmaton Valley led 25-17 at the break, but St. Paul adjusted at halftime to the press, Lasley said.
“Credit St. Paul,” Lasley said. “They made adjustments at halftime, so we had to go away from the press.”
Marmaton Valley’s offense faltered down the stretch, Lasley said, because “we started taking shots we didn’t need to take, and we weren’t moving our feet on defense. That meant putting them on the foul line.”
The Wildcats led 38-30 after three quarters before St. Paul closed the game with a 26-16 run.
Kurtis LaRue paced the Wildcats with 20 points and seven rebounds. Dalton Houk added 10 points and three steals. Ethan Ericson added eight rebounds and two assists.
Kolby Carter scored 15 points to pace St. Paul. D.J. Vitt followed with 14 points and Tyler Coomes with 11.
Marmaton Valley won the junior varsity contest 43-39 and a C-team affair 46-31. Cole Becker scored seven to pace the Wildcat JV. Carlos Gonzales scored 10 points to lead the C-team.
The Wildcats return to action next Tuesday at Southeast High of Cherokee to battle Riverton in the first round of the Southeast Lancer Classic.
Marmaton Valley (2-23-13-16—54) (FG/3-pt): McNutt 0-4-2-4, Louk 3-1-0-7, Lewis 4-0-4-8, Houk 1/1-5-2-10, Ericson 0/1-0-2-3, Becker 0-2-0-2, LaRue 8-4-0-20. TOTALS: 16/2-16-10-54.
St. Paul (11-6-13-26—56) (FG/3-pt): Carter 3/1-6-2-15, Westhoff 1-1-4-3, Vitt 2/3-1-3-14, Treiber 0-1-2-1, Smith 0-2-1-2, Coomes 3/1-2-0-11, Alexander 2-0-3-4, Schibi 2-0-0-4, Carr 1-0-0-2. TOTALS: 14/5-13-15-56.