VAN WERT – The Van Wert Cougars tipped off their weekend slate of games on Saturday night due to poor weather on Friday. Van Wert welcomed Marion Local Flyers to the Cougar Den at Van Wert High School for non-conference boys basketball action. The Flyers took off during the third quarter and outscored Van Wert 24-7 to pick up a 55-52 victory.
Consecutive baskets from Blake Henry early in the first quarter gave Van Wert an early 6-4 lead. Marion Local responded with a 6-0 run, getting four points from Tyler Mescher to bring the score to 10-6 Flyers. Van Wert tied the game at 10-10 and the first quarter ended with the score 12-12. The Cougars opened the second quarter with an 11-4 run, as the final five points came from Jacoby Kelly, including a 3-pointer, to put Van Wert up 23-16.
Marion Local closed out the first half with a 4-2 run to decrease the Van Wert lead to five points, 25-20.
The Cougars got a layup from Henry to increase their lead to 27-20, but the Flyers went on an 8-0 run, getting a 3-point play from Nathan Bruns and 3-pointer from Tyler Prenger – 28-27, Marion Local. Van Wert rallied back with buckets from Kelly and Henry to reclaim the lead at 31-28.
The Flyers ended the third quarter with a 16-1 run, getting 10 points from Bruns, as Marion Local went from down three points to up 12 points at the end of the third quarter – 44-32, Flyers.
Van Wert got 3-pointers from Kelly and Nate Place to cut the Flyers' lead to 46-38. The Cougars used a timeout with 4:33 left in the ball game, and got a triple from Drew Bagley to make the score 46-41, Flyers.
Marion Local looked to have the game wrapped up with a 1:34 left in the game and the score was 52-43 Flyers. They ran into some trouble making their foul shots and Van Wert was able to catch fire from beyond the arc.
Place hit one 3-pointer and Kelly added two more 3-pointers as Van Wert cut the Flyers lead to 55-52. Marion Local used a long inbound pass from the baseline to run the final four seconds off the clock.
“Our kids are trying so hard, they really are. The mental part is just as hard as the physical part and we did a lot of good things in the first half. And we preached that we can still get better and we need to work on a few things,” said Van Wert boys basketball coach Mark Bagley.
“When it’s a one possession game like this game ended up being every possession matters. The third quarter just snowballed I think Marion Local went on a 19-2 run we were up seven then down 12,” added Bagley.
Marion Local improved its record to 6-3 on the year. Van Wert drops to 3-6 on the season and will play Ottawa-Glandorf on Monday at O-G High School.