Mark Twain’s Garrett Jarman did all he could to carry the Tiger basketball team offensively on Friday night, but it wasn’t enough as Mark Twain lost 58-52 to Marion County.
“We knew Mark Twain was much improved,” Marion County coach Ryan Wood said. “They beat Community Tuesday night and I know Community has a quality program. We looked for a competitive game and we sure got it.”
Jarman scored a game high 21 points, 16 of which came in the first half. But when the first half ended, the Tigers trailed 35-32.
“It was intense and they are a good team,” Jarman said. “But I thought we played a pretty good game. I did pretty good, but I thought I could have done better.”
Marion County increased its lead to 44-36 midway through the third quarter, but the Tiger came roaring back. Mark Twain used a 10-0 run to take a 46-44 lead with 57 seconds left in the third quarter. It was Mark Twain’s first lead since the 4:50 mark of the first quarter when the Tigers were up 7-4.
“We were playing as a team” Jarman said. “We were doing good on defense and forcing them into bad turnovers and bad shots and we were being aggressive.”
Mark Twain coach Chad reading was pleased with his team’s play during the 10-0 run.
“We got some easy buckets in transition,” Reading said. “They had to sub some kids out and our defense was just amazing right then. The kids were really working hard. They really pushed the surge to get us back in the game.”
That would be the last time Mark Twain led as Marion County closed out the third with a three-pointer and a layup to take a 49-46 lead heading into the fourth quarter. Junior Reed Plunket hit three treys for the Mustangs in the third quarter and finished with 12 points total on the night.
“That is his specialty,” Wood said of Plunkett’s three-pointers. “He has been doing that for the last several years. He doesn’t look like much, but he can shoot the ball. He gets open and he has a good chance of making it.”
Trailing 52-48, Mark Twain (1-2) rallied again in the fourth quarter. The Tigers tied the game at 52-52 with 3:35 left on a layup from Dalton Hawkinson.
Marion County (3-0) took the lead for good on a pair of free throws with a minute and a half left. The Tigers had a chance to take the lead with less than a minute left, but Ethan Anderson’s three-point shot missed.
“I knew it was over,” Jarman said after the missed trey. “I was just trying to get our guys heads up at that point.”
Marion County went to the charity stripe twice more before the game ended, making all four attempts.
Anderson was the only other Tiger to score in double figures, finishing with 10 points. Austin Epperson and Hawkinson both finished with 8 points each. Epperson also finished with a game-high 10 rebounds.
“Scoring was spread around pretty well,” Reading said. “Our big kids got in the action a little bit, but I wanted to see them get a little more. They did really well tonight and shot well from the field. It was a pretty good night to get the mix around.”
Clay Pollard led the Mustangs with team-highs in both points (17) and rebounds (6).
“I thought Clay Pollard played really well in the first half attacking the basket and finishing,” Wood said. “He hit a three in the first half and he kind of got us going. He has been our leading scorer so far and we expected that out of him this year.