INMAN — Just like the last time the two teams played, the Inman High School boys basketball team was in a tough stretch against Marion High School. However, after forcing an overtime, the Teutons were able to eliminate the Warriors 64-60 and will move on in the semifinals of the Class 2A Sub-State tournament.
Marion had a fast start early in the first half and led as high as eight points. The first quarter ended after Zacharay Stuchilk made a half-court shot at the buzzer to give them a 21-13 lead. Even though Marion had the upper hand, the Teutons wouldn’t be denied and caught up to the Warriors due to their turnovers and miscues on offense.
“We were down, and they were playing faster than us. I was super proud of how we battled back just from earlier in the game. We never panicked, they never wavered, and we just kept coming back,” said Inman’s head coach Brett Froese.
Froese credits the fifth-seeded team for a competitive matchup. Even with the win over the Warriors, he struggled to get a read on them and couldn’t figure out how to stop the Warriors’ fast-paced offense.
“I tried to think that I can figure it out defensively in what I wanted to do. I had not been able to figure them out in two games. We zoned them, matchup zone, and all different kinds of stuff. They’re just hard to guard because they are so balanced. Take someone away, and next thing you know, they are beating you up on the boards,” said Froese.
Trailing 32-31 at halftime, both teams went back-and-forth in lead changes. The Teutons finally got into a groove in the fourth quarter after hitting back-to-back 3-pointers by both Ethan Stubbs and Mason Thiessen. Following a Marion Turnover, Payton Froese will go for a layup to give the Teutons their largest lead of night 52-47.
“I felt like we stayed in it well. We kept battling when they came out hot from the start just like the first time we faced them. We knew if we just keep playing our game, we were able to get back into it, “ Thiessen said.
Marion would later catch up after shooting back-to-back 3-pointers of their own to make it 55-53 with 2:27 minutes left in the fourth. With 20 seconds left, the Warriors regained the lead 58-57. The Teutons would catch a break after Jaxson Eddy was fouled and got to shoot two baskets at the free-throw line. Only making one out of the two, the game went to overtime.
It wasn’t a pretty overtime victory, knowing that the Teutons kept turning the ball over in few of their possessions. However, the Warriors committed turnovers of their own and failed to get into the basket. They only scored two points during the extra period. Inman was confident in getting the win after putting up six points. After the Warriors’ final turnover, the Teutons sealed the deal after Payton Froese made both of his free throw shots to make it 64-60.
“We knew that we had another chance. We keep giving them opportunities to get them back in the game with the late turnovers. Once we got into overtime, we knew we were able to win the game. We have the firepower to go get them,” Theissen said.
The Teutons will head to Hillsboro Friday night to face top-seeded Elbing-Berean Academy at 6 p.m.
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