The Mark Twain boys basketball team lost an 86-77 shootout to deep and fast Montgomery County on Wednesday night.
The Mark Twain boys basketball team came oh-so-close to ending a losing streak when it engaged in a shootout at Montgomery County on Wednesday night.
So many things went well.
Grant Peters, the Tigers 6-foot-7 center, erupted for a monster night, posting 39 points and 14 rebounds. He made tough layups and 11 of 13 foul shots in between.
But Montgomery County (17-4) used its speed and deeper bench to run past the Tigers for a wild 86-77 win, handing the Tigers (8-13) their seventh straight loss.
Mark Twain head coach Cody McCann gave his team credit for playing a hard-fought game.
“I told them in the locker room, that was the best game we have played this year,” McCann said. “In the seven losses, we have been in the game but just have not got over the top.”
Aubrey Nelson led Montgomery County with 30 points, 26 of which came in the second half.
The Wildcats drained 10 shots from 3-point range on the night.
Montgomery County coach Scott Kroeger mentioned his deep bench helped him rotate players to give the Wildcats an advantage over the tired Tigers, who were two players down on the bench.
“Defensively, we gave up a lot of easy buckets,” Kroeger said. “They are huge. We have played against five different kids who were 6-6 or taller. No one we play in our district will have that kind of size. I think in the end of the game, they were getting fatigued. We were able to rotate guys into the game – and that gave us an edge.”
Even in the loss, Peters was overwhelming.
After the Wildcats took a 6-2 lead on the power of back-to-back threes, Peters took control with forceful inside drives to the basket, scoring three buckets in a row to lead the Tigers to a 10-all tie at the halfway point of the first quarter.
Peters was domineering, taking the ball straight to the basket, scoring and drawing fouls.
Both teams scored handily, with Mark Twain leading 22-18 at end of the opening stanza, a score normally reserved for halftime of many high school games.
Peters continued his hot streak early in the second quarter, leading the Tigers to a 30-23 lead.
But then Mark Twain went cold, and the Wildcats found the basket with a 7-0 spurt to tie it up.
“That was a difference in the game, when we missed shots and they came back with shots to tie the game. That was huge,” McCann said.
The game was knotted at 35 entering the intermission.
Montgomery County took control of the game in the fourth quarter. Carrying a 58-53 lead into the period, the Wildcats went on a shooting spree, grabbing rebounds, hitting 3-pointers and running past the Mark Twain defenders.
Nelson made nine of his 10 free-throw attempts for the Wildcats in the final period to seal the deal.
Jace Barton and Preston Eckler joined Peters in double figures for the Tigers, scoring 12 and 14 points, respectively. Eckler led the Tigers with six steals in the loss.
Mark Twain plays at Elsberry on Friday night.