LEXINGTON TWP. – Marlington coach Nick Evanich wanted a quick start on Saturday night, and that’s exactly what he got.
The Dukes took the lead 24:10 in the first quarter and won 80:39 against the Academy of Urban Scholars from Youngstown.
“We got up early and we needed that,” said Evanich. “I like how hard the kids played the entire first half, how well we ran the floor and shared the basketball.”
But getting up early was key.
“Obviously it was great getting up on her,” said Evanich. “But the children kept walking hard on the floor.”
Marlington (5-12) also had a good night on the boards as they had a 37-28 lead on rebounds.
“We threw the ball back much better, which we keep talking about,” said Evanich.
Marlington came out of the gate quickly and took a 9-0 lead. Junior Rome Sime opened the ranking for the Dukes with a short jump shot. Sophomore Drew Denham followed with a 3-pointer and a putback, and junior Sam Dine finished the run with a brief leap from inside the paint.
Hawks manager Kevin Scott said the first three minutes of the game set the tone.
“We got off to a slow start,” said Scott. “We played hard and competed. But for us it’s mostly a struggle with inexperience. “
This is the first season the Hawks have played organized basketball.
“We are faced with our own inexperience every day and that is a crucial factor for us right now,” said Scott.
Marlington extended its lead in the second quarter and prevailed at 48:19 during the break.
In the second half, the Hawks looked like a different team.
“We came out in the third quarter trying to put pressure on, get sales and take baskets,” said Scott. “We wanted to set the pace and try to make up some of the ground.”
The Hawks (2-11) are also a very athletic team.
“We’re very athletic,” said Scott. “That’s good, but something that worked against us.
“As this was our first season, I didn’t think we’d win any games,” he added. “We have two and hopefully we can get three more. If we get five wins I’ll be really happy. “
At the head of the Hawks was 6-foot-5 senior George Peeples with 14 points and 10 boards.
Evanich was impressed with Peeples.
“He’s a burden,” said Evanich. “He moves very well and has good hands. It was good for our boys to have to work against him. “
Denham led four dukes in double digits with 16 points and eight rebounds. Junior Ben Yoder and Sims added 14 points each and Casey Miller added 10 points in the sophomore year.