Eagles Overrule Lawyers With Road Win
John Marshall entered Saturday night’s home game against St. Edward with an undefeated record and a lot of enthusiasm. Winners of only eight games last season, the Lawyers had a 5-0 record this year under rookie head coach Rich Austin. John Marshall played well early in front of a large home crowd, but the Eagles used their depth and size to earn a 68-49 win.
The game attracted the largest John Marshall crowd since their new gym was completed in fall 2015. The Lawyers fed off the energy, taking an early 8-5 lead behind four quick points from senior Quentin Williams. Marshall sophomore Raymeire Oates tied the game at 10 midway through the first quarter with a pair of free throws. The Eagles responded with a pair of three pointers, first from senior PJ Flannery and then from senior Elliott Tirbaso. St. Edward held a 20-14 lead after the first period.
St. Edward stretched the lead to double-digits in the second quarter, due in part to eight points in the period from Flannery. He hit two three pointers within 19 seconds to give the Eagles a 35-19 lead with just over one minute left in the first half. The score at halftime was 36-21, as John Marshall refused to let the Eagles pull away.
Marshall went on a 6-2 run over the first three minutes of the third quarter, cutting the lead to 38-27 and firing up the home crowd. That was as close as it would get, though, as the Eagle defense locked down to shut out Marshall for the next seven minutes. Sophomore Devontae Blanton put the game out of reach later in the third period. He hit one field goal to stretch the lead to 15, then followed with a three pointer only 17 seconds later. The lead ballooned to 56-27 at the end of the third period.
Marshall cut into the lead with a 12-2 run early in the fourth quarter, but the Eagles kept the game in hand. St. Edward was able to use reserves during the final few minutes, and the Lawyers narrowed the final margin to 68-49. Flannery led the Eagles with 16 points; Blanton had 14; Tirbaso and Foster each finished with nine. Oates and junior Terrell Repress led the Lawyers with 12 points apiece.
“They [Marshall] did a great job defensively and controlling the offensive pace early” said Eagle head coach Eric Flannery after the game. He felt that his team’s depth and experience – 11 players are back from last year’s Final Four run – made the difference. “We kept our composure,” he said. St. Edward returns home Tuesday night for a game against Brush High School. Varsity tipoff is scheduled for 7 p.m.
Mike Deneen has extensive experience covering sports and community stories for the Lakewood Observer. Mike has been a Senior Industry Analyst for the Freedonia Group in Cleveland, Ohio, since 1998. He has appeared on CNBC’s Closing Bell, NPR’s MarketPlace and has been quoted multiple times in The Wall Street Journal. He has made multiple guest appearances on ESPN Cleveland radio. Mike also writes for Inside Northwestern, a website that covers Northwestern Wildcat Athletics. You can reach him on Twitter at @MikeDeneen1