ZALMA -- Saxony Lutheran's boys basketball team's inaugural varsity season came to an end Monday night with a 53-49 loss to Marquand in the first round of the Class 1 District 2 tournament at Zalma High School.
Marquand will play top-seeded Bell City 6 p.m. tonight in a semifinal matchup. No. 6 Oran upset Leopold in Monday's other quarterfinal game and will play No. 2 Delta at 7:30 p.m. in tonight's other semifinal.
In a game which featured seven lead changes and nine ties, it was a key steal by Marquand senior Adam Statler which proved to be the difference.
After getting a stop on the defensive end, Saxony Lutheran (17-6) looked to take the lead with the scored tied at 49 when Statler stole the ball from Saxony guard Lauren Lueders and laid the ball in with little less than a minute remaining.
"I knew we needed a score," Statler said of the steal. "I'd been waiting for that the whole game."
Saxony Lutheran had a shot to tie the game, but Casey Petzoldt's lay-in would not go in with less than 30 seconds remaining. The Crusaders only had four fouls at the time of Petzoldt's missed attempt, and had to use up nearly 20 seconds to finally put Marquand on the line. Statler iced the game by making
both free throws of a one-and-one with five seconds left.
"Seniors make breaks for themselves," Saxony Lutheran coach John Daniel said of Statler's late-game heroics. "Their seniors made some big plays."
This was the second meeting between the two teams in the last week, with Saxony Lutheran defeating Marquand 53-46 in its season finale. Saxony Lutheran had also beaten Marquand earlier in February at the Mississippi Valley Conference Tournament.
"It's really hard to beat a team three times in a month," Daniel said.
Saxony Lutheran jumped out to a good start with an early 6-2 lead. The Crusaders led most of the first quarter, but Marquand was able to pull within one at 20-19 on a buzzer-beating 3-pointer from 6-foot-6 center Levi Lakies.
In the second quarter both teams went back and forth, with three ties and five lead changes in the quarter. Marquand was able to go to halftime with a 32-30 lead after guard Jay Francis hit a jumper with four seconds remaining.
"Those always help to get us fired up," Statler said of the buzzer beaters.
Marquand would not surrender the lead after halftime and led by as many as six points in the third quarter. After trailing most of the third quarter, Saxony Lutheran finally pulled even at 46-46 on a lay-in by center Tim Lorenz with 3:40 remaining. Lorenz tied the score once more at 49-49 for the Crusaders with a 3-point play with 2:10 left.
Lorenz led all scorers with 29 points. Statler finished with 24 points for Marquand.
"We finished the season 17-6 in our varsity's first year with probably the youngest team in the state," Daniel said. "We've got to be pretty pleased."
Marquand will face No. 1 Bell City in today's semifinals.
Bell City (22-5) only led 20-12 after one quarter, but the Cubs scored 33 second-quarter points and only allowed 18 points after the half.
Dominitrix Johnson led Bell City, ranked No. 2 in the state in Class 1, with 21 points, Randy Conn had 13 and Jeff Liggins had 11. Curt Wiseman led Zalma (3-20) with 24 points, including five 3-pointers.
Sixth-seeded Oran pulled off the biggest upset of the night, edging No. 3 Leopold.
Oran (6-14) led throughout, leading 28-23 at halftime and 33-30 after three quarters. Garrett Roslen led the Eagles with 21 points, Ryan Bouge had 12 and Matt Seyer had 11.
Nathan Thiele led Leopold (12-13) with 18 points, and Brandon Bueter added 12.
Delta had five double figure scorers and routed No. 7 Oak Ridge.
Zack Kelley led Delta (18-9) with 16 points, Daniel Cook had 15, Cody Crowden had 14 and Kevin Bartels and Brent Menz had 11 apiece.
POPLAR BLUFF - Third-seeded Chaffee defeated sixth-seeded Ellington in the first round of the Class 2 District 2 tournament despite poor play offensively.
Chaffee had 21 turnovers in the game.
Samantha Hendrix led Chaffee (9-14) with 10 points.
Chaffee will play top-seeded Van Buren tomorrow at 8 p.m.