Even though it topped Western Big 6 rival United Township on Friday, the Moline boys' basketball team thought it could do even better on Saturday.|
Opening up their annual Martin Luther King Classic at Wharton Field House, the Maroons took some significant steps forward as they scored a pair of victories.
After opening with an early-afternoon 49-30 win over Marengo, Moline capped Saturday's five-game slate with a 66-40 victory over Chicago's Bulls Prep squad.
"Our main goal was to bounce back from Friday,'' said Moline senior guard Drew Owens, referring to his team's 53-46 win over the Panthers that gave the Maroons their first conference win of the season. "We wanted to get better ball movement, knock down our free throws, and get two wins.''
With their first game tipping off at 1 p.m., followed by a bit of downtime before returning to the court, the Maroons (12-8) did have to adjust to Saturday's schedule."It's something of an adjustment,'' said Owens, "but we're a strong enough team to do that.''
In its early game, Moline had a battle on its hands with a 6-12 Marengo club. With Adam Rogutich hitting his first three shots, the Indians forged an a tie at 11 late in the first quarter before the Maroons used a pair of Jed Wood treys to go up 17-11. They eventually built a 31-20 lead late in the second quarter.
Wood knocked down five 3-pointers, all in the first half, and scored 17 of his game-high 19 points in that span. Tyler Biscontine netted 13 points and snared five steals, and Owens added a game-high nine rebounds.
"That was good to see,'' Moline coach Jeff Schimmel said of Wood's hot hand. "We know Jed can shoot. Friday, it was Tyler; (Saturday), it was Jed. It's good to see one of the guys knock his shots down if the other isn't hitting.''
Marengo closed the first half strong, cutting the deficit to 31-26 on a buzzer-beating 3-ball by Hunter Simonini, but Moline's defense clamped down on the Indians in the second half, holding them to two points each in the third and fourth periods.
In the nightcap, Bulls Prep (6-10) hung with the Maroons in the first quarter as Javaris Walker (18 points) drained three 3-balls, two of which staked his team to an early 8-4 lead before Moline scored the next eight points to go up for good. However, Walker kept it close, banging home another trey to make it a 12-11 game.
Up 20-13 after one, Moline hit its stride in the second quarter as it built a 42-22 halftime lead as 6-foot-6 junior forward Brandon Vice stepped up his game, scoring nine of his 11 points in that span.
Held to four points in the opener, Owens stepped up with 11 points in the second game to match Vice for team-high honors. Biscontine and Wood each tallied nine, with Derrick Stabler adding eight points.
"We were a little shaky (Friday night), and today was a good day to improve and build on that,'' said Owens, whose club faces Rochelle (6-13) at 11:30 a.m. and state power Washington (16-1) at 5 p.m. on Monday. "Now, we'll put our feet up, relax and get energy for two big games on Monday.''
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