Arrows no match for No. 6 Marshall boys

MARSHALL – Sparked by a personal 9-0 run by reserve guard Connor Winkelman, the Marshall boys’ basketball team broke out of a slow start and roared its way to a lopsided 66-28 win over Southwest Conference foe Pipestone Area Friday night in Marshall.

The sixth-ranked (Class AAA) Tigers held a 14-11 lead nine minutes into the game before Winkelman hit back-to-back 3-pointers and converted on a three-point play to give the Tigers a double-digit lead. Marshall went into halftime up 32-20, then really locked down defensively in the second half where the Tigers outscored Pipestone 34-8.

Winkelman, a sophomore, had scored 17 points in seven appearances prior to Friday night. He finished with a game-high 13 points to help Marshall to its 11th straight win since dropping its season opener.

“It’s good to see kids that, when they get an opportunity, do well with the opportunity that they get,” Marshall head coach Travis Carroll said. “He definitely did well with the opportunity he got in the first half. He’s been pretty consistent in his games this year and has been doing well.”

Pipestone (3-6 overall, 0-6 SWC) played zone against the Tigers and crashed the offensive boards hard. They kept the game close in the opening minutes of a foul-plagued first half, pulling within a point at 9-8 after an elbow jumper by Dominic Freese with 10 minutes, 43 seconds left in the half.

The Tigers gave up 18 offensive rebounds to Pipestone for the game. It’s a number Carroll was not pleased to see.

“We gave up a lot of offensive rebounds there in that first half and that’s something that’s got to improve before we start playing our games next week because we have two important section games coming up,” he said. “That’s one thing we definitely need to focus on going into next week is holding the other team to one shot.”

Winkelman hit a left-wing 3-pointer in transition, then drilled another one a possession later from the right corner to give the Tigers a 20-11 egde with just under nine minutes left in the half. A minute later he scored on a putback and was fouled. He finished the half with 11 of his 13 points.

The Tigers’ defensive pressure picked up in the second half and they were constantly forcing turnovers and converting them into points. Guard Carl Douglas came off the bench and had a team-high four steals, and Marshall forced Pipestone into 27 turnovers for the game.

The Arrows made just two field goals the entire second half and were held to just two points in the final eight minutes.

Marshall guard Riley Sharbono scored 11 points to join Winkelman in double figures. Hunter Peterson added nine points and four assists, and Tanner Bukowski had nine of the team’s 42 rebounds.

The Tigers have a tough game coming up Tuesday when they travel to face Willmar. The Cardinals opened the season ranked No. 3 in Class AAA, but lost their first four games. They then went on a five-game winning streak but have since lost their last two games to Brainerd and Sartell-St. Stephen and sit at 5-6 on the season.

“They’re playing very well right now,” Carroll said of Willmar. “To go on the road and beat Willmar we’re going to have to play very well for two halves of basketball against a team like that.”