ALTON — Father McGivney was taking notes on Tuesday when it visited Marquette Catholic High School.
A first-year varsity program at a parochial Catholic school, the Griffins hope to mimic the Explorers’ success. They’ve got a little ways to go right now, as Marquette cruised to an 80-36 victory on Tuesday.
With the win the Explorers improved to 22-3 on the season, while Father McGivney dipped to 2-20. Marquette was ranked fifth in the Class 2A state poll that was released on Tuesday.
“When you look at their program and where they’re at right now there’s no doubt this is where we want to get to,” Griffins’ head coach Rich Beyers said. “We want our program to be every bit as competitive as theirs is. I think for any parochial school that’s what they’re looking for and they’ve achieved it. They’ve done a nice job of getting kids to buy into their philosophies and (Steve Medford) has done a great job.”
The Explorers did a great job minus head coach Steve Medford on Tuesday. Medford was out sick and the reins of the team were in the hands of junior varsity coach Mike Stratton. They didn’t miss a beat.
There were 12 players who scored for Marquette in the win, as it raced out to a 10-0 start in the first quarter. The Explorers turned the Griffins over 11 times in the opening frame and led 29-4 when the buzzer sounded. They turned Father McGivney over 23 times overall on the night.
“Coach Medford, I was filling in for him tonight because he’s sick, and he just preaches defense and getting up and pressuring people,” Stratton said. “We’re a little quicker this year so we’ve been able to do that quite a bit. We’ve gotten some easy baskets from it. We’re just trying to keep that going because we’ve got a real gauntlet coming up at the end of the season.”
Stratton was pleased seeing the bounce back from the Explorers after suffering a tough 34-32 loss to Mount Carmel at the Pinckneyville Shootout on Saturday. The loss snapped a 13-game winning streak for Marquette.
After matching their season low in points scored on Saturday, the Explorers enjoyed their highest offensive output on Tuesday.
“It shows the toughness our kids have to come back and respond to a loss like that,” Stratton said. “It was a real tough loss, so it was good to see the mental toughness out of them.”
Junior Reagan Snider, who returned from a moderate high ankle sprain at the Sparta Invite recently, is still nursing the injury. He pointed to the depth Marquette has this season as a reason he can ease himself back in. He netted 9 points in Tuesday’s win.
“My freshman and sophomore year I never came out,” Snider said. “But we’re a lot deeper this year and that’s going to help us in the long run with legs and stuff once we get further down the postseason.”
Marquette was potent from long range Tuesday, too, burying nine 3-pointers in the win. It extended its lead to 46-13 at the half and led 64-22 after three quarters.
Seven different players hit treys on the night, with Nick Messinger and Isaiah Ervin sinking two apiece to lead the way.
Jake Hall scored 19 points to lead the Explorers off the bench, while Nick Hemann, who got the start Tuesday due to energized play on Saturday, netted 10 points. They were the lone scorers in double digits for Marquette’s balanced attack.
The Griffins got an impressive performance from Logan Shumate. The 6-foot-5 junior netted 19 points to go with 12 rebounds in the loss.
“He had a rough start to the game. Some of those turnovers were because of his lack of effort in my opinion. For all intensive purposes he really only played three quarters because I sat him for most of the first after his lackluster start,” Beyers said. “That makes his night that much more impressive. He’s a fighter. I kid him all the time he’s like one of my sons and they all are, but I’ve known Logan for a long time. I met him when he was in eighth grade and he was the first kid I ever talked to in a one-on-one situation so he means a lot to me.”
The Griffins next welcome New Athens at 6 p.m. on Saturday, while the Explorers welcome McCluer North to Alton at 7:30 p.m. on Friday.
MARQUETTE 80, FATHER MCGIVNEY 36
Griffins 4 9 9 14 — 36
Explorers 29 17 18 16 — 80
Explorers (22-3) — Bryce Pettiford 3, Sammy Green 5, Nick Messinger 8, Reagan Snider 9, Nick Hemann 10, Jake Hall 19, Chris Hartrich 3, Isaiah Ervin 8, Jeremy Strebel 7, Ryan Ely 2, Brady McAfee 3, Kyle Buecker 3. 2FG — 23 3FG — 9 FT — 7 PF — 14.
Griffins (2-20) — Dan Jones 1, Matt Taphorn 4, Alex Loeffler 6, Logan Shumate 19, Kellen Weir 3, Caleb Tanzyus 3. 2FG — 11 3FG — 3 FT — 5 PF — 6.