WAPPINGERS FALLS, NY - Just 11 seconds into the game, Chinedu Okasi had an and-one layup to give Marlboro a quick lead.
That trend continued, as Marlboro kept that momentum throughout the entire 32 minutes to open up the 2021 Ketcham Holiday Tournament with a victory over John Jay - East Fishkill, 75-66.
“We played two and a half really good quarters, one and a half not so great,” Marlboro head coach Mike Koehler said. “We got a lot of contributions… We played solid defense the whole time, but we can’t take quarters and possessions off on either end.
Marlboro took an early double-digit lead early, going up 14-2 in the opening minutes, and never looked back. After a 14-point halftime lead, Marlboro came out in the second half and built the lead up to 25.
With under four minutes remaining, John Jay made a late push. After being down 65-44, John Jay brought the game within six points, to 72-66, as they went on a 22-7 run.
“Great effort at the end, really proud there at the end,” John Jay head coach Robert Seipp said. “I personally felt like offensively we’re running our offense and making cuts, but we’re not looking for the basketball… Defensively, I just feel like we lost sight of the ball too often and guys were just driving on us.”
Marlboro’s Chinedu Okasi led all scorers with 22 points today; 15 came in the second half. Dylan Gunsett and Michael Murphy had 11 and Collin Casey had nine for the Dukes.
“Chinedu was great,” Koehler said. “He’s coming off an ankle injury. So, what we got out of him was really awesome. He was attacking all day.”
John Jay was lead by Malaki Smith with 17 points; Jaice Martabano had 16. Robert Golden led the 4th quarter charge with 13 total points, scoring 10 in the final period.
“Robert Golden, our senior starting point guard, with a minute or two to go, diving for the ball when we’re down 15 points. I love it,” Seipp said.
With the loss, John Jay is now 1-7 through the first two months of the season.
“It’s very frustrating to be 1-7,” Seipp said. I’m frustrated, the guys are frustrated, but the only way we’re going to get out of it is diving for loose balls and giving it everything we’ve got for all 32 minutes and in practice.”
With the win, the Dukes are now 4-2 on the season. Marlboro advanced in the tournament and will play the winner of Arlington vs Spackenkill Tuesday at 4 p.m.
John Jay will play again on Wednesday at Roy C. Ketcham High School. The opponent is TBD.
By Tom Seipp (@Tom_Seipp & firstname.lastname@example.org)