The Mark Twain boys basketball team fought to a 42-33 win over Salisbury on Thursday night in the semifinals of the Madison Tournament.
Sometimes it doesn't have to be pretty.
Such was the case for the Mark Twain boys basketball team in a 42-33 win over Salisbury on Thursday night in the semifinals of the Madison Tournament.
Consider: The two teams combined for 43 fouls. No player from either team scored in double digits. The squads combined for 41 shots from the foul line yet hit for just 39 percent. The opponents combined for 11 points the third quarter.
It was a hard-hitting, physical game.
But for Tigers coach Cody McCann, it was a win.
“It was tough,” McCann said. “I told my guys to keep their composure. It was a rough game, but we stayed with them the whole game. I am proud of the way our guys hung in there.”
Mark Twain (6-5), the No. 2 seed, advances to face top-seeded Van-Far in the championship game at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday.
The fouls started early in the first quarter Thursday thanks to extremely physical play by both teams.
Body checking and shoving ruled the game.
Not unexpectedly, the top target for the Panthers was Mark Twain’s 6-foot-7 center Grant Peters, who fought a tough battle with Salisbury senior Logan Wooldridge.
Rather than try to play around Peters, Salisbury took the ball directly to Peters, who stood his ground and took four charges from Panthers who were driving to the basket.
Peters, who led all scorers with nine points, said the physical play was something he welcomed.
“I like to play like that,” the senior said. “I always love to take charges. I credit my brother for that. He taught me how to take charges, and my coaches have reinforced that. When they are coming at me, I must let them commit the charge. In this game, I could not foul out, so I just stood my ground.”
The margin of victory for Mark Twain was success from the foul line. The Tigers hit on 12 of 27 attempts (44 percent), while Salisbury only connected on four of 14 attempts.
Kaden Elliott tossed in eight points for the Tigers, while Aidan Epperson and Devin Neff scored six a piece.
After the game, Salisbury coach Kenny Wyatt reflected on what he called a poor offensive night for his team.
“We couldn’t score. We scored only 33 points. We do not deserve to win with that output,” Wyatt said. “When you hold them in the low 40s, you expect to win.”
Both coaches were frustrated with the lack of offense and the number of fouls.
“We had three seniors foul out,” Wyatt mentioned. “They did not adjust to the way the game was being called. Yeah, they (the officials) called it tight. I would rather they didn’t. They did it, so you have to learn how to play the game with what is being called.”