Leopards Earn Outright NBC Championship at Marlington
Louisville 62, Marlington 55
The Louisville Leopards Boys Basketball team reached the top of the NBC Mountain again Friday Evening when they defeated the host Marlington Dukes 62-55. With the victory, Louisville improves to 17-3 overall and clinches the conference outright with a 13-0 record in league play.
Blake Hoover muscled the Leopards to an NBC Crown by recording a double double with 19 points and 10 rebounds. Drew Noble also tallied a double double with 12 points, 12 boards, & 2 blocks and Joe Crank had 10 points & a team-high 4 assists.
Louisville hit the long ball early as Crank hit 2 three-pointers in the corner and Jake Adams also hit a triple to give the Leopards a 13-5 advantage just 3:03 into the contest. A fast break basket by Hoover while being fouled and a pair of free throws by Adams put Louisville up by eleven before they finished the quarter ahead 20-12. Adams ended the period scoring 7 of his 9 points for the contest.
The Dukes owned the second quarter as they outscored the Leopards 13-7. Jacob Sawman’s buzzer beating lay-in put Marlington within 27-25 at the break. The Dukes continued to rally as they closed the third quarter on an 8-2 run to knot the game at 39-39. Trent Weigand and Brock Begue hit home three-pointer daggers to spark the run.
When crunch time came, Louisville rose to the occasion as they started the final frame with a 9-0 run. Hoover started the scoring with a reverse put-back. Then, Crank found Chris Libertore in the right corner who laced a three. After that, Libertore fed Noble who buried a 16 footer and the Leopards would extend their advantage to 48-39 with less than six minutes left in the game.
Marlington followed that with a 7-0 run to get within 48-46. But it was Louisville’s unrelenting hustle and determination that won the day. Hoover scored on a one-hand jam to put the Leps up 50-46. Just seconds before that, Hoover had saved the possession by jumping over the baseline to save a loose ball.
On the Leopards next possession, Noble scored on a layup via an inbound pass from Matt Eddins. Later on, another Duke shot rimmed out, Hoover snagged the rebound, and Brody Hahn turned it into a fast break score. Finally, Louisville’s 8-0 run was capped off when Crank rolled to the rack to put the Leopards ahead 56-48 with 1:18 remaining.
Louisville would sink 8 of 12 free throws in the final period to ice the game. The charity stride proved to be a big difference in the game as the Leopards made 22 of 32 (69%) shots from the line, while the Dukes finished 9 of 17 (53%). Louisville also held a distinct advantage on the boards 39-24.
Chris Andrews led the Marlington charge by scoring 8 of his team-high 14 points in the fourth quarter and also dished out a team-high 4 assists. Begue also scored 10 points and Marcus Devies added 9 for the Dukes.
With the victory, Louisville extends their winning streak to four games and has now defeated Marlington in each of their past three meetings. The Leopards now lead the all-time series 64-38, which includes a 28-20 record when playing at MHS.
UP NEXT: The Leopards will next finish their suspended game against Alliance at home on Monday, February 23 at 7:00 PM. The game will resume with Louisville ahead 29-15 at the start of the 2nd Quarter.
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