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TELL CITY - Tell City held taller Mater Dei to 28.8 percent field-goal shooting and beat the Wildcats 57-49 in boys basketball Tuesday.
The Wildcats missed a lot of shots in the lane and several open three-point shots. But Tell City's aggressive 2-3 zone defense also deserved some credit for their cold shooting.
"I thought we defended very well," said Tell City Coach John Hayes. "We knew their two big kids (6-foot-9 center Jake Hassler and 6-6 forward Matt Dickerson) were tough and very talented, but we played as strong as they did. I don't think Dickerson even scored.
"I thought all of our inside players played well, including our reserves.
"I thought Shane Flannagan came in and played really well--that's as good as he's played. He had five points (on 2 for 3 field-goal shooting and 1 of 1 at the free-throw line) and banged with their big boy."
With Mater Dei's height advantage, Tell City was not able to get the ball inside on offense as much as usual, though.
Marksman center Eric Henrickson, who hit 10 of 13 shots from the field in his previous game, officially took only one shot (though he was fouled on a couple others) in this game and forward Jay Ziegelgruber took only four.
"When you're battling 6-9, 6-6 and 6-6 guys, it's going to be a little tougher," said Hayes. "But we felt like they struggled defending Ryan (Zuelly) on the dribble, so we decided to try to exploit that a little more."
Zuelly hit a driving 6-foot semi-hook shot to start a 9-0 Tell City run in the second quarter that gave the Marksmen the lead for good.
Fellow guard Andy Chinn followed with a three-point basket and Ziegelgruber scored twice inside--one on a nice assist from a driving Zuelly--to complete the run and put the Marksmen up 15-12.
They gradually expanded their lead to 19 points, 53-34, with 1:43 left in the game.
But they struggled at the free-throw line. And Mater Dei finally hit a couple three-pointers and two rebound baskets to pull with six, 55-49, with 0:10 left.
Zuelly then hit two free throws with 7.6 seconds left to nail down the win.
The Marksmen hit 50.0 percent from the field but hit only 51.7 percent of their free throws.
They were outrebounded decisively (40-31) for the first time this season. But they committed only 12 turnovers, two fewer than Mater Dei.
"Only having 12 turnovers against pressure defense like that I have to feel pretty good," said Hayes.
Chinn led the Marksmen with 13 points. Zuelly and Joseph Kohnert each added 12. Zuelly also had six assists.
Kohnert led the Marksmen in rebounds with eight. Hassler pulled down 13 for the Wildcats and 6-5 reserve Bryce Huff added eight.
The Marksmen improved to 10-2 with their first win over Mater Dei in the 10 years since the Wildcats were added to their schedule.
Mater Dei, a former Class 3A powerhouse ranked 12th in the state in Class 2A going into Tuesday's game, fell to 5-5, though this was its first loss to a Class 2A team.
Tell City will visit Hancock County Friday at 8 p.m.
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Tell City won the junior varsity game 46-40 as Jordan Rhodes and Jason Hackbarth each scored 11 points and Jesse Stowe added 10.
Rhodes made four steals, Stowe grabbed three rebounds, and Corey Young had four assists for the 8-3 Marksmen.