Leopards Erase Deficit, Fall on Debatable Buzzer Beater
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Marlington 66, Louisville 64
The Leopards erased a 15-point fourth quarter deficit when Jake O’brien hit a deep two in the left corner to tie the game with less than 10 seconds remaining. On the other end of the floor, Lucas Strouble put up a buzzer beater shot from the free throw line that sunk the Leopards 66-64. Strouble led all scorers with 32 points for Marlington, while O’brien led Louisville with 27 points and tied a team record by hitting 7 three-pointers. Mike Kelly also scored 17 and hit 4 triples, while Joey Duckworth added 7 in the Leopards’ first loss at Marlington since 2009.
The situation looked bleak for the Leopard as they trailed by 15 points heading into the final quarter Tuesday night. The Dukes had out-rebounded them 31-13 and were on fire from the field. Nobody in the bleachers at Marlington High School was expecting to see the clinic Louisville was about to unleash in the fourth quarter, but none the less it became a reality.
The Leopards first attempt to chip into the lead was swatted away by the 6’4 Strouble. Although that would have dampened most spirits, it did not phase these Leopards and O’brien answered with a three-ball from the left wing a few seconds later.
Strouble again played menace to the Leopards on the ensuing Marlington possession as he scored on a lay-in and was fouled. After he converted the extra free throw the Dukes were back up to a 56-41 advantage.
But Louisville begged for more and they got it in the form of a 13-2 run. O’brien again answered with a triple and then Jon Crank followed with a deep jumper. Back-to-back buckets by Duckworth cut the lead to a touchdown, before Kelly buried a three-pointer from another timezone. 58-54.
Jesse Carpenter, who finished with 12 points for the Dukes, finally ended a three minute Marlington scored drought with a drive to the hole to make it 60-54. Yet, O’brien was there again to answer with a three-pointer to cut the lead back to three.
After a Duke free throw, Kelly found a wide open Duckworth underneath the hoop off a baseline inbound to trim to lead to 61-59. But Strouble was there again to push the Leopard deficit back to four with a basket on the other end.
Kelly didn’t care, three-ball…left corner…got it! The deficit that was at one point 16 was cut to just one with a minute to go. Louisville had to foul several times to get Marlington into the bonus and to the line for a 1-and-1. Shawn Kirk hit the front end, but missed the back end of what turned out to be a pair of free throws. Billy Lairson came down with the rebound for Louisville and Coach Tom Siegfried called timeout with 15.8 to go.
Out of the timeout, Marlington somehow left O’brien open again in the left corner. He banged home a two-pointer just in front of the arch to tie the game at 64-64. The comeback had happened and the Leopards student section nearly jumped onto the court in elation.
But, the Louisville fire was quickly vanquished by the sting of injustice. Carpenter put up a deep three-pointer thinking there was no time for a better shot as the seconds ticked away. Somehow the ball tipped off two Leopards and into the hands of Strouble at the foul line. He grabbed the ball out of the air and buried it. Pictures on Facebook show a triple zero on the scoreboard with the ball still in his hand and our video confirms that the horn sounded before the shot was off. But this is high school basketball, not the NBA…66-64 Marlington as was the ruling by the referees.
It almost seemed surreal. Like a game of Around the World in the park, the Leopards hit 5 of their 11 three-pointers in the final stanza and hit home 11 of 21 three-point attempts for the game. They came all the way back before falling at the end. The scoreboard and newspapers will indicate that Marlington won this contest, but nobody from Tuesday’s game left MHS questioning the heart of a the Louisville Leopards.
LEOPARDS: O’brien 10 0-0 27, Kelly 6 1-3 17, Duckworth 3 1-1 7, Schooley 2 1-2 5, Meredith 1 2-4 4, Cheezan 1 0-2 2, Crank 1 0-0 2, McQuilkin 0 0-2 0. TOTALS 24 5-14 64.
TEAM FG: 24-54 44%
TEAM 3PT: 11-21 52% | O’brien (7), Kelly (4)
TEAM FT: 5-14 36%
DUKES: Stouble 12 8-10 32, Carpenter 5 0-0 12, Hall 2 2-2 7, Kirk 2 1-2 5, Mason 2 0-0 4, Penird 2 0-0 4, Williamson 1 0-0 2. TOTALS 26 11-14 66.
TEAM FG: 26-47 55%
TEAM 3PT: 3-11 27%
TEAM FT: 11-14 79%
Rebounds: Marlington 33-17
Records: Marlington 11-4, 9-3; Louisville 5-11, 4-8
NEXT UP: The Leopards will next host the West Branch Warriors on Friday, February 10. JV will tip at 6:00 and Varsity will follow at approximately 7:30.
Marlington 44, Louisville 42
The Dukes whipped away a 23-10 halftime deficit by scoring 17 points in each of the final two periods to get the victory over the Leopards. Marlington was led by Chris Andrews with 12 points and Jordan Knopp with 11. Nine different Leopards players scored in the game as Alex Hollifield scored 9, Joey Duckworth had 8, and Andy Minster hit home 7. The Leps went on an 11-0 run to close the half, but the momentum did not carry over as the Dukes roared back.
3PT: 3 | Duckworth (1), Andy Minster (1), Parks (1)
TEAM FT: 13-20 65%
DUKES: Andrews 5 1-3 12, Knopp 4 3-3 11, Coon 2 2-3 6, Hall 2 1-3 5, Krupko 2 0-0 4, Masterson 1 0-0 2, Sawman 1 0-1 2, Simmon 1 0-0 2. TOTALS 18 7-13 44.
3PT: 1 | Andrews (1)
TEAM FT: 7-13 54%