By Matt Dahlseid
MARSHALL - With only one player reaching double figures in scoring, the Marshall boys basketball team got contributions up and down the roster in Tuesday's home opener against Redwood Valley and came away with a 64-48 Southwest Conference victory.
In Southwest Conference play, the Marshall Tigers host the Redwood Valley Cardinals
Marshall's team effort was seen on both sides of the court. On offense, the Tigers had 12 players score in the game. On defense, Marshall ratcheted up the pressure and held the Cardinals to just 23.4 percent shooting.
"It's really nice to see us playing as a team and playing together looking to get the best shot, no matter who's the shooter," said Marshall sophomore guard Austin Saugstad, who scored a team-high 11 points with five assists and three steals.
Redwood Valley held an 8-5 edge in the opening minutes, but Marshall's full-court press helped the Tigers go on a 12-0 run, which was capped by a Ben Sanders layup following a steal at midcourt. From there, Marshall maintained control of the game the rest of the way.
Photo by Matt Dahlseid
Marshall guard Ben Sanders, left, goes up for a layup after coming away with a steal, while Redwood Valley’s Jesse Leith defends during the first half of the Tigers’ home opener Tuesday.
Marshall (1-1) came into the game looking to slow down Redwood Valley's 6-foot-4 guard Michael Busack, who had averaged nearly 20 points per game in the Cardinals' first three wins.
Busack finished with a game-high 21 points, but Marshall made him work hard for his points.
"We had a lot of defensive plans going into it. We really wanted to key on him, make sure we contested all his shots," Saugstad said. "We really just rotated around, boxed out and got the rebound.
|Redwood Valley (48)|
|Michael Busack 7 5-8 21, Cole Huhnerkoch 5 4-6 16, Alex Koester 2 0-1 5, Jesse Leith 0 3-6 3, Matt Morley 0 0-2 0, Trevor Sandgren 1 0-0 2, Beau Stough 0 1-2 1 Totals 15 13-25 48. Three-pointers 5 (Busack 2, Huhnerkoch 2) Rebounds 29 (Busack 6) Assists 12 (Hengel 3) Steals 9 Blocks 2 (Busack 2) Turnovers 25 Total Fouls 20.|
|Brennan Cable 2 1-2 5, Lee Christianson 2 3-5 8, Tyus DeBoer 2 0-0 4, Nick DeRuyck 1 0-0 2, Collin Hoover 4 1-1 9, Caleb Johnson 3 2-2 8, Ben Sanders 1 1-2 3, Austin Saugstad 4 1-1 11, Mason Schnaible 2 3-4 7, Shawn Tykwinski 1 0-0 3, Kyle Verdoes 1 0-4 2, Nathan Werner 1 0-1 2 Totals 24 12-22 64. Three-pointers 4 (Saugstad 2) Rebounds 45 (Johnson 7, Hoover 6) Assists 20 (Christianson 5, Saugstad 5) Steals 11 (Christianson 3, Saugstad 3) Blocks 1 (Christianson) Turnovers 26 Total Fouls 21.|
|Halftime Score: Marshall 34, Redwood Valley 20.|
"We knew he was going to score, we just had to contain him and make sure he didn't get outrageous numbers."
Redwood Valley's Cole Huhnerkoch was the game's next highest scorer, putting up 16 points, but the Tigers limited the rest of the Cardinal players to 11 points combined.
On offense, Marshall pushed the pace when possible, trying to get to the basket in transition. In the half-court set, the Tigers kept the ball moving, looking for the open man. The result was a balanced scoring effort, but also several turnovers.
Marshall head coach Tom Critchley said his players tried to work the ball around too much at times, which was part of the reason for the team's 26 turnovers.
"It's nice to see the balanced scoring, but I think sometimes we're a little too unselfish, which is a little ironic for a coach to say that," Critchley said. "I think that's where we had some turnovers where we just should have shot the basketball.
"We've got to learn what a good shot is and we've got to learn when we've got to learn to move the basketball. It's nice having a lot of guys who can score, but we don't want to have guys second-guessing themselves."
Marshall also got into foul trouble in both halves, a problem that hurt the team in its 66-62 season-opening loss to Montevideo last week. But with the Cardinals struggling to score against the Marshall defense, neither the turnovers nor the fouls came back to bite the Tigers.
For the second-straight game, Saugstad reached double figures in scoring for the Tigers, while also creating several shots for his teammates. The only freshman on Marshall's roster last season, Saugstad received little playing time. This year, Critchley has been putting more trust in the young guard and it has paid off.
"Austin is doing a lot of good things right now," Critchley said. "He's making the right play and he's being a vocal leader as a sophomore. He's not afraid to take the outside shot or go to the basket.
"I told him last year, 'This is going to be a tough year, but as a sophomore, you're going to thank me.' He didn't play a lot of B-squad, he didn't play a lot of varsity, but he learned how to play in practice and I think he's starting to see the fruits of his labor."
Post player Collin Hoover added nine points and six rebounds for the Tigers, while Caleb Johnson had eight points and seven boards. Lee Christianson also eight points to go with five assists and three steals.
The Tigers now set their sights on conference rival Worthington. The two teams will tip off at 7:30 p.m. Friday in Worthington. Last year, the Trojans won both games of the season series by a combined five points.