Marquette moved one step closer toward defending its Columbia-Freeburg Holiday Tournament crown Thursday night.
The Explorers (11-0) used a dominating second quarter and stifling defense to ease past Triad 51-36 in second round action. Marquette, which defeated Waterloo 66-49 in its tourney opener Wednesday, improved to 11-0. Besides capturing the title last year, Marquette previously won the tourney from 2011-13 as well.
“We’re playing really well,” said junior Nick Hemann, who scored 13 points against Triad. “If we win this tournament again back-to-back that would be something else.”
Junior Isaiah Ervin added 13 points for the Explorers, while senior Jake Hall chipped in with 11. The Explorers resume tournament action at 1 p.m. Friday against Lebanon.
“I thought we played pretty well,” Marquette coach Steve Medford said. “I thought we executed pretty well. We came out with a lot of energy defensively and did what we had to do to win. I thought our defensive intensity led to a lot of easy baskets for us.”
Overall, the Explorers outscored Triad 19-6 in the second quarter, which extended a 12-7 lead to 31-13 at halftime. Hemann’s steal and dunk highlighted the second-quarter outburst.
“I thought the second quarter was big,” Medford said. “This team has the ability to make runs. Our press really kind of created some turnovers.”
Triad (6-5) cut the deficit to 45-32 in the fourth quarter, but could draw no closer. Senior Kyle Cox led the Knights with eight points. Triad now faces Sparta at 2:30 p.m. Friday.
“They’re a really talented team. They play really hard, and they’re really well coached,” Knights coach Josh Hunt said of Marquette. “That’s a lethal combination. I’m proud of our heart. I’m proud of our character. We’re fighters.”
In other tournament games Thursday:
Valmeyer 58, Dupo 47
The Pirates knocked off the Tigers 58-47 in the Thursday’s opener. Senior Michael Chism led Valmeyer (6-7) with 22 points, while senior Kyle Steinhauer and sophomore Tyler Touchette paced Dupo with 15 points apiece. The Pirates resume tournament play at 11:30 a.m Friday against Gibault.
Lebanon 41, Sparta 35
The Greyhounds downed the Bulldogs 41-35 in the second game of the day. Senior David Krumsieg paced Lebanon with 22 points, while senior Johnathan Williams had a team-high 10 points for Sparta (2-6). The Bulldogs next face Dupo at 10 a.m. Friday.
Freeburg 58, Civic Memorial 55
The Midgets posted a 58-55 decision against the Eagles in game three. Sophomore Luke Ervie had 21 points for Freeburg (6-6), while junior Bruce Zupan had a game-best 22 points for Civic Memorial (8-4). The Midgets next play at 4 p.m. Friday against Gibault, while the Eagles face Columbia at 5:30 p.m.
Columbia 58, Dupo 27
The host Eagles rolled past the Tigers 58-47 in the fourth game of the day. Senior Jordan Holmes anchored Columbia with 11 points, and Touchette led Dupo (0-13) with 10 points. Dupo resumes tournament action against Sparta.
Waterloo 66, Lebanon 59
The Bulldogs defeated the Greyounds 66-59 in game five. Junior Tre Wahlig notched a team-high 22 points for Waterloo (4-9), while senior David Krumsieg had 20 points to lead Lebanon (7-5). The Bulldogs take on Triad at 7 p.m. Friday, while the Greyhounds battle Marquette at 1 p.m.
Columbia 64, Gibault 38
In the final game of the day, the Eagles defeated the Hawks 64-38. Holmes led the way for Columbia (7-4) with 21 points, while Junior Karson Huels scored 10 points for Gibault (2-9). The Eagles square off with Civic Memorial at 5:30 p.m. Friday, while Gibault plays Valmeyer at 11:30 a.m. and then Freeburg at 4 p.m.