Monarchs race past Red Devils
MOUNDSVILLE — With big men Bryce Yoho and Mickey Reilly sitting beside him in foul trouble for large chunks of the game, John Marshall boys’ basketball coach Chad Clutter needed someone to eat up minutes Friday night. Enter Izac Babiczuk.
A junior who generally sees most of his time on the jayvee squad, Babiczuk came off the bench in the second half to hit all five of his shots and finished with a career-high 15 points to lead four double-digit scorers, as the Monarchs (6-12) raced past St. Clairsville (14-5) by an 83-71 count.
”They don’t have too many post defenders so it maybe made it look like I had more post players than I did,” said Clutter, whose team snapped a seven-game losing streak. ”We have three pretty good ones in Mickey (Reilly), (Bryce) Yoho and Devin Norris.
”Babiczuk has great patience in the paint and was really big for us. I always told him that he’s very patient inside and that it was going to pay off for him, and it really did.”
The Monarchs shot 58 percent (29 of 50) from the floor and 81 percent (21-for-26) at the free-throw line. All 10 players who entered the game scored as John Marshall built as big as an 18-point lead in the fourth quarter.
”I knew in seeing them on film that they were better than their record. Their schedule is impossible,” Red Devils coach Ryan Clifford said of the Monarchs. ”We basically were set up for things to not go well and I warned them.
”We basically played two title games last week and we’ve got an (OVAC) semifinal game Tuesday. As much as we talked about concentration and good teams and great teams taking care of business all the time, we just did not.
”We were uncharacteristic in a lot of ways. I think we shot four air balls and anybody who has seen us play knows that’s not a typical thing.
”I’m not taking anything at all away from John Marshall. They played a great game.”
The Monarchs led 16-13 after one and following a pair of Ryan Campbell free throws that made it a 30-28 upper hand, did not trail the remainder of the night. Despite playing long stretches without Yoho and Reilly who picked up their third fouls at 7:20 and 6:03 of the second quarter, respectively, JM closed with a 6-2 run to take a 36-32 halftime advantage.
Clifford sent Craig Bober right at Yoho on the Red Devils’ first two second-half possessions, with the senior scoring each time. But Bober picked up his third personal with 7:05 left and went to the bench.
”Any time all night it felt like we were gaining some traction, for some reason it slipped away,” Clifford said. ”We thought we could pressure them but they took care of the ball and got good shots.
”They played well. We just didn’t have it.”
After Bober’s second basket of the third quarter, John Marshall responded with a 9-1 run that included two baskets from Yoho (14 points) and another from sophomore Derrick Derrow (14 points), as well as an Adam Miller (nine points) connection from beyond the 3-point line.
”They’ve got a really good team and were on a good winning streak, but I just think we matched up well with them as far as speed and we were able to outrebound them,” Clutter said. ”I was really proud of our guys and we really needed to do this.
”Adam Miller came in and had a size advantage inside and ended up doing a couple nice things in there. No matter who I put into the game, it seemed like they contributed.”
A pair of Tyler Sadoski (13 points) free throws early in the fourth quarter gave the Monarchs their biggest lead, 73-55. But St. Clairsville’s pressure — it forced 21 turnovers overall — began taking hold.
A 3-pointer from Brett Vike got it to within single digits at 75-66, but JM cashed 14 of 16 at the free-throw line in the fourth quarter.
Matt Busby paced the Red Devils with a game-high 22 points while Bober finished with 20 and David Lane contributed 12 off the bench.
”They have mature kids that are maybe able to withstand our style of relentlessness and they never flinched,” Clifford said. ”In fact they excelled when we tried to get the tempo going.
”I know they’re not averaging a ton of points, but they got 80-some. Our motto is ‘every game is a big game,’ but we didn’t play like this was a big game.”