MARSHALL - It's been a work in progress replacing a strong group of seniors that led Montevideo to a 22-6 record last season, but Thunder Hawks head coach Dan Douglas is pleased with the progress that's been made so far.
Thursday night during the second day of the three-day Marshall Fastbreak Club Holiday Tournament, the inexperienced Thunder Hawks managed to fend off Tracy-Milroy-Balaton for a 53-52 victory.
Montevideo went on small runs all game but TMB kept battling back to get within a point or two, eventually tying the game at 46 with a 3-pointer by Parker Lanoue with just over four minutes remaining. But Montevideo made some key plays down the stretch to prevent the Panthers from stealing a win, which was an encouraging sign for a group of players learning to find their roles.
Photo by Matt Dahlseid
Tracy-Milroy-Balaton senior forward Mason Van Essen, left, goes for a layup on a fastbreak against Montevideo junior forward Jordan Thompson during a game in the Marshall Fastbreak Club Holiday Tournament Thursday at the R/A Facility at Southwest Minnesota State University.
"Our kids know it's going to take some time, but I'm real encouraged by our kids and how hard they work," Douglas said. "We do have some talent, we just don't have a lot of experience yet and that's why this tournament is really great because we get to see some teams that we don't normally play, some bigger schools and a school like Tracy that's a little closer to our size, and it's a good experience for us because that's exactly what we need is more time on the floor."
Montevideo (3-3 overall), which led 27-23 at halftime, had built its lead up to 45-39 with seven minutes left after a fastbreak layup by freshman Troy Diggins off an assist from senior guard Ryan Maroney.
TMB head coach Rick Haberman called a timeout after the basket and his team responded with a 7-1 run to tie the game. Lanoue hit the game-tying 3 from the left corner after receiving a pass from guard Alec Swan, who drove the baseline and spotted the open shooter.
Ryan Maroney 2 2-3 7, Jesse Brace 5 0-0 12, Jordan Thompson 3 0-0 9, Austin Hansen 4 1-2 9, Troy Diggins 1 2-6 5, Tanner Rood 1 0-0 2, Spencer Hildahl 4 1-5 9. Totals 21 4-11 53. 3-pointers 7 (Thompson 3, Brace 2) Rebounds 20 (Maroney 6) Assists 12 (Hansen 3) Total Fouls 11.
Jacob Bengston 1 0-0 2, Justin LeClaire 1 2-2 5, Mason Van Essen 2 1-4 5, Alec Swan 3 1-1 8, Parker Lanoue 6 0-2 13, Josh Kirk 2 1-1 5, Brian Fultz 3 0-0 7, Matt LaVoy 2 1-2 5, Brett Swenhaugen 1 0-0 2. Totals 21 6-12 52. 3-pointers 4 Rebounds 27 (LaVoy 6) Assists 8 (Swan 3) Steals 3 Blocks 5 (Michael Nilius 2) Total Fouls 13.
Halftime Score: Montevideo 27, TMB 23.
But just seconds after Lanoue's 3, Montevideo got a wide-open 3 of its own and junior forward Jordan Thompson made the Panthers pay by drilling the shot.
"That was big because they made us work really really hard just to get good shots off and then we finally fought back and tied it and got a little bit of confusion and they got a good shot," said Haberman, whose team drops to 2-4 after its fourth straight loss. "But you've got to give credit to the kid, he made it. They made shots when they needed to and made a couple more plays than we did."
TMB later cut the lead to 53-52 with 21 seconds left after freshman forward Josh Kirk scored a layup after receiving a pass from Lanoue on a cut to the basket. The Panthers had to foul and sent Diggins to the line, and he missed the front end of a 1-and-1 to give TMB a shot to take the lead.
Out of a timeout that came with 7.8 seconds on the clock, Kirk found the ball in his hands again and drove baseline, but the 5-foot-6 Maroney stepped in to draw a charge with three seconds left.
"It got close at the end of the game and that charge was a big play. Our senior point guard stepped up and took it," Douglas said.
Austin Hansen continued a poor night at the foul line for the Thunder Hawks by missing both free throws after TMB was forced to foul, but he rebounded his own miss to prevent the Panthers from throwing up a last-second heave.
Montevideo senior guard Jesse Brace led his team with 12 points, while Thompson, Hansen and Spencer Hildahl each finished with nine.
Lanoue led the charge for the Panthers, scoring a game-high 13 points.
Neither team did itself any favors at the free-throw line, as TMB was 6 of 12 and Montevideo was 4 of 11.
The Thunder Hawks will try to get their second win of the tournament today when they face Mankato East at 6:15 p.m. at Marshall High School. TMB will follow, facing red-hot Marshall on the Tigers' home court.