The Marshfield High School boys basketball team did their best imitation of a roller coaster in their home contest against Camdenton last Tuesday, Dec. 12. After trailing by double digits in the first quarter, the Blue Jays fought back to lead by as many as 17 points in the middle of the third quarter. But they saw that advantage dissolve until they were back behind by a point with just over a minute to play before rallying for a three-point win, 58-55.

The Blue Jays’ early struggles looked largely like nerves, as they had an early attack of fumblitis, failing to get up a shot on several early possessions. A trio of late-period buckets in the paint by Truett Gardner were the only first-quarter field goals for the Blue Jays.

But both shooting and defensive pressure got a little warmer for the Marshfield boys in the second quarter, as they held the Lakers to seven points while bubbling up for 19 of their own, owing largely to 3-pointers by Austin Porter, Jacob Villines and Brayden Peck. Porter, who had been held scoreless in the first period, collected eight of his eventual team-high 17 points in the second period. The resurgence sent the teams into intermission with Marshfield on top, 29-26.

The third quarter featured more of the same formula for the Blue Jays, as they expanded their lead to 17 points near the end of the stanza, before a late surge by the Lakers closed the lead back to 13 at 46-33.

But in the final period, the Lakers rediscovered the shooting range they’d had at the start of the game. Five 3-pointers within about a three-minute span starting just past the midpoint of the quarter helped Camdenton edge back into the lead, 55-54, with just over a minute left.

A bucket in the paint by junior Trenton Kanengieter with just over 30 seconds left put the Blue Jays back up by a point. On the ensuing possession, the Lakers got the ball inside for a shot, but Blue Jay Triston Letterman managed to get a fingertip deflection on it — just enough to alter the flight path. Villines got the rebound and was fouled. Villines hit both free throws (Marshfield was in the double bonus) and the Lakers weren’t able to get a good look from beyond the arc before time expired.

In addition to Porter’s 17 points, Villines also finished in double figures with 13 tallies, including a perfect 7-for-7 from the free-throw line.

COMING UP

Following a trip to Springfield Catholic tonight, the Blue Jays will travel to West Plains Thursday for their final pre-Christmas contest. The Greenwood Blue and Gold Tournament starts Tuesday, Dec. 26. The Blue Jays are the No. 7 seed in the Blue division, and will face Willow Springs at 5 p.m. at the Hammons Student Center. Win or lose, they will play again at 12:30 p.m. Wednesday. If they win, the game will be at the JQH Arena. If they lose Tuesday, they will be back at the HSC Wednesday.

Scott Kerber, editor/GM of The Marshfield Mail, is a transplanted Chicagoan/Tennessean/Nebraskan who loves the friendly atmosphere in southwest Missouri.

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