With two key East Central Ohio League boys' basketball games scheduled at Sutton Gym Friday and Saturday nights, Marietta High isn't really looking ahead to next Tuesday's 7:30 p.m. non-conference showdown against visiting Warren.
Like all good coaches, the Tigers' J.D. Secrest takes contests one at a time. And, so does Warriors' boss Blane Maddox.
Warren, currently the owner of a three-game winning streak, probably won't start preparing for the Tiger cagers (5-5 overall, 1-4 ECOL thru today) until Saturday after the Warriors' Friday night Southeastern Ohio Athletic League tilt at Jackson. The Ironmen, thru Jan. 7, were winless at 0-11.
JORDAN HOLLAND The Marietta Times
Marietta’s Adam McKnight (23) battles three Frontier players for the ball during non-conference boys’ basketball action in New Matamoras last Saturday night. The Tigers won 61-38.
Warren’s Danny Pannell guards a Belpre player during non-conference boys’ basketball action at the Eagles Next last Saturday night. The Warriors won 81-70.
Look for Maddox and his staff to do their homework and perhaps be on hand for the New Philadelphia at Marietta game at 7:30 p.m. Saturday.
At the same time on Friday, MHS is slated to host Claymont, a school that whipped the Tigers 66-39 in the Dec. 4, 2012 season opener. Since that loss, the Tigers have turned things around and won five of their last nine games.
The orange and black, which had a three-game winning streak snapped Tuesday night in a tough 53-51 loss at Meadowbrook, is currently 4-1 at Sutton Gym.
Warren has been on a mission since the start of the campaign, and currently owns a 9-1 overall mark. The Warriors' lone setback was 69-47 to Upper Arlington in the Ohio River Classic at Marietta College on Dec. 29, 2012.
So, when Tuesday night does finally roll around, look for Sutton Gym to be rockin'. In fact, late arrivals and fans without tickets for the rivalry game could have difficulty getting in the doors.
Of late, Warren has had the upper hand in the all-time series against Marietta. Most of the games have been tight, except for the last one when the visiting Warriors routed the Tigers, 76-56, on Valentine's Day 2012.
In an earlier meeting in Vincent on Jan. 17, 2012, Warren claimed a 44-39 decision.
The season before in 2010-11, Warren posted three wins against MHS, including a 53-48 sectional final overtime decision at Logan High on Feb. 26, 2011.
Since last season, there's been of course some line-up changes due to graduation losses. Marietta only has three active varsity participants of the rivalry game back in Braden Riley, Jordan Satterfield, and Ethan Strauss.
Riley and Satterfield are expected to start, along with Billy Weekly, Adam McKnight, and sophomore Corey Hill.
Warren has six returning vets of the contest in Evan French, Evan Yabs, Reece Patton, Adam Lang, Danny Pannell, and Dylan Leffingwell, who actually played in the Washington County showdown two seasons ago.
Michael Hall, French, Yabs, Patton, Leffingwell or Pannell are the Warriors' probable starters.
As in any game, matchups on the floor will be important.
On paper, Warren looks to have the overall edge - but not necessarily. Marietta has good size in the paint, and when its inside-outside game is working, it's tough to beat.
Riley and Weekly could give the Warriors fits underneath, and McKnight's and Hill's perimeter shooting is as good as any around. Against Meadowbrook, Hill tallied a game-high 15 points. Weekly added 11, and Riley had nine.
Satterfield is solid at point, and very rarely turns the ball over.
Tiger bench players like Cameron Benson and Reid Chwalek are both very capable of providing a spark.
Warren has a lot of offensive weapons, though, in French, Patton, Hall, and Leffingwell, who made his first start of the season in the royal blue and white's 60-57 triumph at Athens Tuesday night. The Warriors score a majority of their points on mid-range jumpers, and if French, one of the top shooters in the Mid-Ohio Valley, gets hot, look out.
French had a team-high 22 points and Patton chipped in with 18 against Athens. Leffingwell netted nine, and Hall scored what proved to be the game-winner in the closing seconds after an out-of-bounds play.
Yabs at point and Pannell on the wing each is a good, fundamentally sound basketball player.
Warren's inside game is suspect, though, but not when Leffingwell is in the game. The senior frontcourt player will mix it up and attack the basket, and when he does that, it opens up the perimeter.
Maddox is hoping his royal blue and white cagers penetrate the lane and draw more fouls. If they do, it'll be a long night for the Tigers.
Marietta, on the other hand, will need to assert itself right after the opening tip-off. The Tigers can ill-afford a slow start, and don't want to be in a catch-up mode.
That's what happened against Meadowbrook as MHS was really hurt by a seven-point first quarter. The Tigers need to get out of the gate and on the scoreboard quick.
It's a great rivalry, and a close game is expected Tuesday night...but first both schools need to take care of some other basketball business this weekend.