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Margaretta finds identity but falls to McComb

Mark Hazelwood • May 12, 2015 at 5:32 PM

Much better, but not quite enough.

That was the verdict on the Margaretta boys basketball team after Thursday's 51-41 loss to McComb in a non-conference game in Castalia.

After a lackluster effort in a 48-40 loss to Huron on Tuesday, the Bears pushed one of the top teams in the Division IV Northwest district for the better part three quarters, but turnovers and the lack of foul shooting hurt Margaretta in the end.

The Bears (4-3) turned it over 19 times and did not attempt a single free throw.

McComb improved to 7-0 despite being out-rebounded 39-22 and shooting 19 of 52. The 9-0 scoring advantage at the line was much of the difference.

"That's exactly what we talked about with the kids after the game, anytime we needed a possession we turned it over," Margaretta coach Troy Roth said. "It's been our achilles heel here lately, we're not making our shots all of the sudden and we're turning the ball over.

"We weren't being aggressive with the foul shooting, so we need to get better there as well. I thought we were aggressive tonight but obviously when you don't take a single free throw, something's wrong. We've got to get there."

Margaretta fell behind 14-4 in the final minute of the first quarter as it struggled with a 3-of-15 shooting performance, but a big second quarter allowed the Bears to tie the game at 23 at half.

"I thought we started well, the first quarter was exactly how we wanted it to go," McComb coach Aaron Roth said. "I thought we'd be OK after that, and they made a huge run in the second quarter and we couldn't make anything."

The Bears continued their surge to open the second half as a basket from Austin Moore and a 3-pointer from Craig Galindo saw a 28-23 advantage at the 7:12 mark of the third quarter. McComb quickly responded with a 9-0 run to take a 32-28 lead with 3:19 left in the quarter.

McComb held a four-point edge going into the final quarter, 36-32, but the opening moments of the fourth quarter decided the game.

Taylor Hanes caught Margaretta in a defensive breakdown with a wide open 3-pointer for his only bucket of the game just eight seconds into the quarter, and after a steal in transition, Mason Roth buried another 3-pointer. Quickly it was a 42-32 lead 31 seconds into the final quarter.

"I told our kids at halftime it was just two quarters, let's execute our offense," Aaron Roth said. "And then Taylor and Mason hit the big 3-pointers and from that point, we were able to breathe. I felt like we could finally take a breath, and that's what a veteran team does."

Margaretta did its best to get back within reach as a score by Devin Jones and a 3-pointer from Galindo made it a 42-37 deficit with 6:45 left, but an Austin Moore basket to pull within 44-39 with 5:28 left was the closest the Bears got the rest of the way.

"I thought we got our identity back from what we lost on Tuesday," Troy Roth said. "We played hard and got after it and did a good job defensively with a very good scoring team.

"Holding them to 51 was good, although those were two bad possessions there to open the fourth where we lost their shooters. But right now we have to figure out our offensive woes."

Jones led Margaretta with 12 points and 16 rebounds while Austin Moore added 10 points, six rebounds and four blocks. Corey Kane and Galindo each added eight. For McComb, Roth scored 18 while Andrew Dee added 16 points and six rebounds.

MCCOMB (7-0)

Mason Roth 5-7--18, Andrew Dee 7-2--16, Taylor Hanes 1-0--3, Austan Westenbarger 2-0--6, Jerry Brown 4-0--8. Totals 19-9--51.


Craig Galindo 3-0--8, Tyler Hilton 1-0--3, Devin Jones 6-0--12, Corey Kane 4-0--8, Austin Moore 5-0--10. Totals 19-0--41.

McComb 14 9 13 15 -- 51

Margaretta 6 17 9 9 -- 41

3-point field goals -- (MCC): Westenbarger 2, Hanes, Roth; (MRG): Galindo 2, Hilton

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