Updated Sat, Nov 16, 2013 2:03 pm
Marietta was in for a tough fight against a strong Ohio Christian team that won the National Christian College Athletic title last year.
And after a threatening comeback by the Trailblazers, the Pios pulled out an 84-83 victory for their first win of the season and a spot in the championship game of the Marietta Shrine Tournament.
The Pios got out to a quick 17-9 lead with 16:05 left to play in the first half, as they worked the Trailblazers in the post and began hitting perimeter jumpers. And as the buzzer for halftime sounded, Marietta had built a substantial 54-38 lead heading to the locker room.
But in the second half it looked like a completely different Ohio Christian team, as they quickly began eating into the Pios’ lead with an assault of 3-pointers and jumpers.
The atmosphere in Ban Johnson Arena grew more and more tense, as the Trailblazers’ guard, Wesley Russell, made a layup and an and-one free throw to lower Marietta’s lead to 81-79 with 2:43 left in the game.
A foul by Marietta post player Andy Stegman sent Lawrence Parsons to the line, and he drained his two free throws to tie the game at 81. But wing player Andy Dollman came to the rescue, as he had done several times against the Trailblazers.
Dollman drained a 3-pointer with 1:31 remaining to give the Pios a 3-point advantage. Russell was sent to the free throw line again on the ensuing possession, but his two free throws weren’t enough to hold Marietta from their first victory of the season.
Junior post player A.J Davis led the team offensively, recording 14 points, four rebounds, four assists and a steal, while Dollman went 5-of-10 from the field, 3-of-6 from 3-point range and had 13 points, a rebound and a steal. Not far behind was senior point guard Tyler Hammond who had 11 points, 10 assists, four rebounds and a steal.
Russell filled up the box score for Ohio Christian, as the junior accumulated 25 points, nine assists, seven rebounds, and a steal.
Marietta will look to obtain the Marietta Shrine crown, as it faces Piedmont in the championship game on Saturday at 7 p.m.