UNIONTOWN — March Madness came about three weeks early.
But the date mattered little to Three Rivers League rivals Marmaton Valley High and Uniontown High, who put forth a game for the ages Friday in Uniontown’s gymnasium.
The teams traded leads twice in the game’s final 10 seconds.
The deciding points came on Ethan Ericson’s 15-foot jumper at the buzzer, giving Marmaton Valley a 52-51 win.
“That was a great rivalry game,” Wildcat head coach Denny Lasley said. “Both teams just kept going back and forth, with nobody giving in.”
Ericson’s jumper capped a wild and woolly contest in which Uniontown jumped out to the early lead before Marmaton Valley started chipping away at their disadvantage.
The Eagles led 16-9 after one period and 28-22 at the break.
Lasley said Marmaton Valley set two goals at halftime. To hold Uniontown to nine points or less in the third period and to outscore them by six, thus tying the score.
That’s exactly what happened. Marmaton Valley’s 15-9 run knotted the score at 37-37 at the end of the third quarter.
Tanner McNutt hit an early three-pointer in the fourth quarter to give the Wildcats the lead for the first time, “and that really got everyone’s adrenaline pumping,” Lasley said. “The game went back and forth from there.”
Ericson wound up with 13 points, 11 rebounds and three assists, while McNutt scored 10 for the Wildcats. Kurtis LaRue, meanwhile, had nine points, 10 rebounds, two steals and three assists. Zach Louk added nine points and three steals. Dalton Houk also had four assists.
DuShaun Robinson scored a game-high 20 points to pace the Eagles, followed by Zach Travis with 11 and Ben Dixon with nine.
Both teams hit the road on Tuesday. Uniontown travels to Central Heights; Marmaton Valley to Lebo.
Marmaton Valley (9-13-15-15—52) (FG/3-pt): McNutt 2/2-0-0-10, Lewis 1-0-3-2, Louk 3/1-0-0-9, Houk 2-0-3-4, Ericson 4/1-2-2-13, Becker 2-1-3-5, LaRue 4-1-2-9. TOTALS: 18/4-4-13-52.
Uniontown (16-12-9-14—51) (FG/3-pt): Ramsey 0-0-1-0, Travis 2/2-1-1-11, Hall 0-0-2-0, Dixon 4-1-3-9, Labbe 1-0-1-2, Esslinger 0-0-2-0, Johnson 4-1-3-9, Robinson 7/2-0-3-20, McAnulty 0-0-1-0. TOTALS: 18/4-3-17-51.
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