A blustery night indeed takes me to Richfield to see Marc Sonnen and Tartan. This game stays close the entire way and is a defensive struggle except for the last half of the 1st half. At 10 minutes left its 16-14 Richfield. Sonnen is playing the point for Tartan, I had thought he was a 2 guard with Sam Ryan manning the point, oh well. Sonnen forced some 1st half shots, but he handled Richfield's pressure well. He finishes the 1st half with 12 points. Renard Robinson finishes the half with an outburst. He gets a bucket off a nice set play (zipper, Robinson is then part of setting a double screen and then he comes up to the weak side away from the double for an easy look), dishes to Chris Williams for 3 and then knocks down a 3 at the 1st half buzzer to send Richfield to the locker room up 42-41. Robinson with 18 in the half.
Shawn Marlowe starts the 2nd half with 6 straight Tartan points. No team can pull away as its 57-57 with 8 minutes left. Tartan holds the ball for 1:50 and Manani Beavers misses a bad 3. Richfield comes back with a long possession on their end. At 4:30 its 59-58 Richfield. Shawn Marlowe gets fouled on a defensive rebound, he makes 1 of the 2 bonus free throws but a bad bounce goes right to him to put the miss back and its 61-59 Tartan at 3:03. DeAaron Hearn misses a tough floater and Sonnen gets a layup. Robinson misses one of his very few 2nd half looks. But Beavers takes another bad shot and Jason Sewer gets a 3 pt play to make it 63-62 Tartan with 1:24 to go. Sonnen with a clutch banker to make it 65-62 Tartan at 1:03. Jason Sewer misses a 3 but Sonnen only makes 1 of 2 at 44.7. Phillip Freeman gets a 2. Aaron Hoverson only makes 1 of 2 with 26 seconds left, Freeman has a decent look at the tying 3 with about 15 seconds left but misses and Derek Peterson seals it with 1 of 2 FTs with 9.8 left. A Phillip Freeman 3 at the buzzer makes the final 68-67 Tartan.
After 18 first half pts, Robinson gets nothing in the 2nd half with limited touches. Beavers had the unenviable task of trying to guard him for most of the game. Disappointing that Richfield didn't come back to the set play for him. He even had a wing clear out that he passed up in the 2nd half. Strange game for him. Give Tartan credit for turning up the D in the 2nd half after Coach Klingsporn was not happy with it in the 1st half.
Sonnen with 23 to lead Tartan and Shawn Marlowe with a nice game inside for Tartan to finish with 20. Sam Ryan didn't score, but he played very good defense. Their inside play is much improved from last year with Marlowe and James Pritschet getting 29 pts combined.
As to future years, they've got sophomores Max Ryan and Troy Klingsporn (very unselfish pass 1st PG) who will be solid guards for them in addition to Beavers inside. Remember these freshmen twins, Luke and Drew Preiner. They'll be nice wing players for Tartan down the road. They kinda remind me of Stu Herman of Heritage. The pipeline remains strong for the Titans.