Junction City sweep Marist in Sky-Em League basketball double

JUNCTION CITY — It was a clean sweep for Junction City on Tuesday night, as the Tigers won both ends of a Sky-Em League boys-and-girls basketball doubleheader against Marist at Junction City High School.

Both were important wins, but neither team made it easy.

Junction City's Faith Marshall and Marist's Madison Holmes battle for a rebound during Tuesday's Sky-Em League basketball game.

The No. 1-ranked Junction City boys built a double-digit lead for three quarters, then put Marist back in the running in the final period before finally claiming a 63-49 victory from the free throw line frank. The Junction City girls – ranked No. 4 in the state – held Marist scoreless for 7:59 in the second quarter and 6:02 in the third, but still had to survive nervous moments late in the game so that the visiting Spartans were closing in. a point before finally failing, 37-34.

“It wasn’t the way we wanted to end the game,” Junction City girls’ coach Marcus Campbell said. “We played really well for three and a half quarters and then the pressure got a little bit on us. That’s what Marist does – they don’t press the whole game, then when they put it on they make runs. We talked about it, we just didn’t seem ready for it.

“Good teams find a way to win. The good news is… we put ourselves in a good position with those first three and a half quarters to have just enough of a lead to finish.”

Junction City (12-4, 2-0 Sky-Em) got a game-high 18 points and 13 rebounds from Faith Marshall, who escaped for a few easy buckets inside and shot 3 of 4 from the line free throws in the fourth quarter to help the Tigers maintain their shrinking lead.

Marist (8-5, 1-1) scored just 11 points in the first half and five of them came on buzzer-beaters. Paige Doerr made a spinning layup to give the Spartans a one-point lead late in the first quarter and Malia Williams hit a deep 3-pointer at the halftime buzzer to score Marist’s only points in the second quarter.

The Spartans then opened the second half with a 6-minute goalless drought, but Junction City simply couldn’t pull away. Molly Nelson helped Marshall on a pair of quick layups to give the Tigers a 24-15 lead going into the fourth quarter, but Marist turned up the intensity with full-court pressure and an aggressive half-court double team.

Junction City's Kaleb Burnett shoots at three Marist defenders during Tuesday's Sky-Em League basketball game.

Madison Holmes made a 3-pointer to fire Marist within five points with 45 seconds left and Doerr took a long three to cut the lead to 35-34 with 18 seconds left. In the end, Cienna Hartle knocked down a pair of free throws with 12 seconds remaining to provide the final margin of victory.

Hartle finished with nine points, including 4 of 4 free throws in the fourth quarter. Williams led Marist with 10 points, Doerr scored six and Holmes and Paige Onstad added five each.

In the boys game, Junction City (14-2, 2-0) relied on their strong inside game to build an 11-point half-time lead that never looked in danger until that Marist (9-5, 1-1) cuts it. at eight with five minutes to go.

Colby Evans scored nine of his game-high 21 points in the first quarter as the Tigers dominated in the paint, and he helped them wrap up the game with two tough inside buckets late in the fourth quarter. Kaleb Burnett also scored 21 points for Junction City, including 12 in the second quarter to help build a 33-22 halftime lead.

Marist came close to 50-42 on Cole Tyner’s 3-point corner, but it wasn’t enough to take the leap. Tyner finished with a team-high 11 points for the Spartans, while Cooper Mullens and Ryan Cary added eight points apiece.

Junction City will be back in action on Friday with a doubleheader at Cottage Grove, and Marist will host Marshfield.

Follow Zack Palmer on Twitter @zpalmer_11 or by email at zpalmer@registerguard.com. For more sports coverage, visit registerguard.com.

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