BOYS BASKETBALL: Tigers eyeing rematch
MARSHALL – After earning the No. 5 seed in the MSHSL Class 3A Boys Basketball State Tournament, Marshall will get a rematch with No. 4 seed Orono in the quarterfinal round.
Marshall (24-4) and Orono (21-8) faced off in the Tigers’ season opener Nov. 23, 2013, when the Spartans came away with the 62-53 win at Orono.
If the Tigers don’t want their season to end the same way it started, there are adjustments that are going to have to be made.
“They are a very physical team,” Marshall coach Travis Carroll said. “They are probably the most physical team we’ve played all season. Rebounding is going to be very important because they are a team that probably outrebounds their opponents every game.”
The Tigers are coming off a 68-64 overtime victory over Mankato West in the Class 3A Section 2 Tournament championship game, in which they were outrebounded by the Scarlets 31-18.
Orono coach Barry Wohler has a history with Marshall, coaching the Tigers from 1999-2004 before taking the job as the Spartans coach in 2005.
This is the Spartans third trip to the state tournament and they boast a state title in 2011.
Wohler believes that he will get Marshall’s best shot, knowing their program is making big strides.
“(Assistant coach) Mike Christianson is one of my best friends and I have gotten to know Coach Carroll through him,” Wohler said. “What a job they are doing at Marshall. That program is in good hands.”
Orono finished the season with a record of 21-8 and went 12-3 in the Wright Conference East Division.
They have made significant improvements over the course of the season.
“We’ve really picked it up on the defensive end,” Wohler said. “We can defend in the half court as well as put in some full court press. We really get after our opponents.”
While Marshall is taking the one-game-at-a-time approach to the state tournament, they will likely get a date with No. 1 seed DeLaSalle in the semifinals Thursday, if the Tigers are able to get past the Spartans on Wednesday.
DeLaSalle enters the state tournament with a 23-3 record and is the top-ranked Class 3A team in Minnesota.
Getting a shot at playing them is serving as motivation for the Tigers.
“We really want to play DeLaSalle,” Connor Winkleman said. “If we play our best basketball against Orono, we have a good chance of getting a shot at those guys.”
Carroll has led the Tigers to two state tournament appearances in his two years at the helm.
In last year’s tournament, the Tigers knocked off Grand Rapids in the quarterfinals before losing a nail-biter in overtime to Austin in the semifinals and, then, won the third-place game against St. Paul Johnson.
“We learned how to win at last year’s tournament,” Carroll said. “That is going to be valuable as we go back this year now that we know what it takes to win there.”
Marshall, which was not ranked in the final Minnesota Basketball News poll, returns for its second consecutive and 10th overall appearance. The Tigers have won one previous title in 1963.
Senior Riley Sharbono leads Marshall with 19.2 points and 6.8 rebounds per game. Senior C.D. Douglas averages 15.1 points and 4.8 rebounds.
Orono returns for its third tournament appearance and first since 2011. The Spartans were ranked No. 10 in this year’s final MBN poll.
Junior Cole Hennings leads Orono with 12.2 points and senior Andy Ten Eyck grabs a team-high 5.6 rebounds. Ten Eyck also averages 3.6 assists.
Marshall tips off against Orono at 12 p.m. Wednesday at Williams Arena.
MSHSL CLASS 3A?BOYS?BASKETBALL STATE?TOURNAMENT SCHEDULE
At Williams Arena
St. Paul Central vs. No. 1 DeLaSalle
No. 5 Marshall vs. No. 4 Orono
Alexandria vs. No. 2 Austin
Cloquet vs. No. 3 Holy Family Catholic
At Target Center
St. Paul Central-DeLaSalle winner vs. Marshall-Orono winner
Alexandria-Austin winner vs. Cloquet-Holy Family Catholic winner
At Concrdia-St. Paul
At Tartget Center