Alton Marquette celebrates 2A basketball regional title win over Gibault
Marquette hit the first two shots in overtime and held on for its third win over Gibault this season, eliminating the Hawks 54-48 in overtime to claim the Class 2A Gibault Regional championship.
Marquette outscored Gibault 9-3 in overtime to win its third straight regional title as the huge Blue Crew student section and other fans stormed the court for a celebration with the team.
“You can talk about winning tournaments, and those are great, but when you win the regional title and you advance in the IHSA basketball tournament, that’s what it’s all about,” said Marquette coach Steve Medford, whose fifth-ranked Explorers improved to 28-3 and tied the school record for most wins in a season. “That’s what the kids prepare for.”
Marquette defeated Gibault three times, including 48-41 just 10 days earlier.
Marquette will face Wesclin at 7 p.m. Wednesday in the semifinals of the Nashville Sectional.
Down by four early in the fourth quarter, Gibault battled back to take the lead on a shot by senior Trevor Davis and two free throws by Collin Kessler with 1:32 remaining.
Marquette junior guard Sammy Green tied it with 1:18 to go, and the Hawks were working for a final shot when they committed a turnover that gave Marquette new life. Gibault might have had things wrapped up by then had it not been for a 6-for-15 performance at the free-throw line.
“We had our chance there to win it at the end of regulation and didn’t handle that part of it very well at all,” Gibault coach Dennis Rueter said. “We were disappointed with the way we handled that, but other than that we just didn’t make any free throws. We could have stretched the lead out a little bit and just didn’t make any free throws. That hurt us, but that’s the way it goes sometimes.”
Green, who led all scorers with 20 points, hit the shot that got the game to overtime. Gibault (22-8) has the ball with one last chance, but turned it over with 0.9 seconds.
“Getting that game to overtime was huge,” Medford said. “Sammy Green hit some big shots and that’s kind of what we expect of him. Hopefully we can keep this thing rolling now.”
Green said the Explorers were hoping to avoid giving a Gibault a final shot in regulation.
“We were trying to gamble and get a steal real quick without fouling,” Green said. “There was a turnover, and once we went to OT, we felt as confident as we did the whole game.”
Along with 20 points from Green, Marquette got 14 points from Reagan Snider and 10 from Isaiah Ervin.
“He was huge; he made some good shots,” Rueter said of Green. “He made more big shots probably than anybody on either team I guess, Trevor (Davis) tried to keep us in it and did some things down there, but Green was their MVP so to speak. He was their guy tonight.”
Gibault got 19 points from Davis and 11 from Kessler.