Sooner or later someone is going to remove the lid that appears to be covering up the hoop against the Marietta Tigers.
The MHS offense struggled once again Friday night as the Tigers shot just 30 percent from the floor on their way to a 44-33, East Central Ohio League loss to the Dover Tornadoes at Sutton Gymnasium.
Marietta connected on just 11-of-37 field goal attempts in the game and that proved costly against a very experienced Dover squad.
"We are just going through a tough stretch where we are having a hard time scoring," said Tiger head coach J.D. Secrest. "Once you give Dover a little cushion, they are a very tough team to deal with."
It looked like the Tigers may have solved their offensive woes early on by getting the ball inside to 6-foot-5 inch center Braden Riley.
The junior big man scored the Tigers first six points of the game, all coming from inside the paint.
"Braden (Riley) did a good job early on asking for the ball and making strong quick moves with it," said Secrest, in his seventh year as Tiger head coach. "They (Dover) kind of collapsed on him after that and did a good job adjusting to him."
A Tiger score from Reid Chwalek with under two minutes to play gave the Tigers an 8-7 advantage, but a fade away jumper by Mason Mamarella and a quarter ending three- pointer by Michael Donizetti put the Tornadoes back in front by four at 12-8.
The second quarter proved to be a major offensive struggle for both squads as Dover connected on just 2-of-10 field goal attempts while the Tigers were just 1-for 8 from the floor.
That lone MHS score in the second quarter came on a three-pointer from junior Adam McKnight to cut the lead to one at 12-11, but Blake Blair drilled back-to-back treys for Dover to send them to the locker room with an 18-13 lead.
Jordan Satterfield's runner got the Tigers off to a good second half start, but the struggling Dover offense finally got itself untracked as they went on an 11-1 run to claim a 29-16 lead.
Donizetti provided the spark for the Dover offense as his three pointer, followed by his steal and layup accounted for the first five points of the Tornado run.
Mamarella's drive to the basket made it a double digit Tornado lead before Zach Parris connected on back-to-back short jumpers to finish the Dover run.
A McKnight bucket and a free throw by Chwalek closed the Dover lead back to 10 at 29-19 heading to the final period.
A pair of free throws by McKnight pulled the orange and black to within eight, but that would be as close as the Tigers would get as once again Dover went on an 11-2 run to take a commanding 40-23 lead.
Secrest and his Tigers decided to foul early and often in the final period and the senior heavy Dover team answered by taking care of business at the charity stripe.
"If they don't make their foul shots there late, it might have been a different ball game," said Secrest of the Tornadoes, who at one stretch connected on 7-of-8 free throws. "But they did and they deserve the credit for that."
Marietta got a couple of late three balls from sophomore Corey Hill, but could get no closer than 11 the rest of the way.
Despite the loss Secrest sees a lot of effort being put forth by his squad, something that he hopes with produce better results as the season progresses.
"The kids played hard and got after it," said Secrest. "I don't think we got outworked, I don't think we got out hustled, there were just moments that we got out executed and with inexperience you are going to get that."
Hill paced the Tigers with 10 points while McKnight added seven.
Riley finished with six points and a game high 12 rebounds.
Dover, who improved to 2-0 on the season, were led by Donizetti with 14 points, while Mamarella reached double figures with 10.
The Tigers, now 1-3 on the young season, will be right back in action tonight as they play host to the Coschocton Redskins in a non-conference battle.