The Mark Twain boys basketball team cruised to a 62-33 romp over Paris on the opening night of the 93rd Monroe City Basketball Invitational.
Mark Twain reserve player Caleb Peters was knocked to the court as he drove the lane, scored on an acrobatic shot and was fouled.
The play happened in the final seconds with only the final margin of victory hanging in the balance. But it symbolized how good things went for the Tigers during the game and just the opposite for Paris.
Mark Twain cruised to a 62-33 romp over the Coyotes on the opening night of the 93rd Monroe City Basketball Invitational on Monday.
The Tigers closed out the first half on a 15-0 run for a 25-14 advantage at the break.
Mark Twain also cranked up its full court press which forced Paris into 13 turnovers in the first 16 minutes of play.
“We struggled to score and we just don’t have good ball handlers right now,” Paris coach Wade Billington said of the first half run by the Tigers. “When you struggle to score and don’t take care of the ball, that is a recipe for disaster.”
Konnor Heitmeyer knocked down a pair of 3-pointers in the first quarter to get the Coyotes off to a fast start. His second triple gave Paris a 10-8 lead at the end of the first quarter.
An offensive putback by Zack Rentschler gave Paris a 14-10 lead with 5 minutes, 15 seconds left in the first half. It would be the last points of the half for the Coyotes.
Grant Peters muscled his way to a score on the inside on the Tigers next possession, starting a 19-0 run that carried into the third stanza.
“We started off a little slow, but overall I thought we played pretty well in the first half and were able to carry the momentum into the third period,” Mark Twain coach Cody McCann said.
The Tigers outscored Paris 15-5 in the third period, extending their lead to 21 points entering the final eight minutes of play.
“We outscored them 32-9 in the second and third quarters,” McCann noted. “It was good to see them working well together and working on extending the lead the way they did.”
Mark Twain connected on 26 of 65 shots from the field, with 15 of the made buckets being assisted.
Devin Neff dished out a game-high five helpers on the night.
“I have told them all season they can’t do it by themselves, they need each other to win,” the Tigers coach said. “When you share and move the ball the way we did tonight, you get easy buckets and that is what happened tonight.”
Mark Twain also dominated the glass. The Tigers out-rebounded Paris by 17 (44-27), including 20 offensive rebounds.
“We played them before Thanksgiving and it was more of the same,” Billington said. “We're just not very good on the boards right now. We are struggling to get kids in the right position.”
The Coyotes coach mentioned the early part of this season has been a learning curve.
“We do not have a whole lot of varsity experience so the plus is we are getting a lot of younger kids some minutes,” the Coyotes coach stated. “Hopefully we can watch some film and get a few things corrected.”
Adam Forrest led Paris with 11 points, while Heitmeyer added eight.
Grant Peters paced the Tigers with a game-high 16 points and nine rebounds.
Neff and Preston Eckler added 10 points a piece in the win, while Conner Grossmann finished with nine points and nine boards.
Mark Twain (3-1) returns to action Wednesday evening against top seeded Monroe City in the first semifinal game.
Paris (1-3) will face Marion County in a consolation game in Wednesday’s nightcap at 8:30 p.m.