By Joseph Hayes
The atmosphere set the stage for a great ending.
And why not?
When the Marysville and Port Huron High School boys basketball teams come together, you would expect a great game to ensue.
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Friday night wouldn’t disappoint.
With the game on the line, and only seconds left to play, Marysville junior forward D’Marco Singleton delivered the big shot everyone had been waiting for.
With Port Huron leading, 52-51, Singleton scored on a drive to the basket to put the Vikings ahead for good and Marysville would go on to add a free throw for a 54-52 victory at Port Huron High School.
“We stay composed as a team and played together and trusted each other,” Singleton said after scoring 13 points. “Coach really believes in me and that gives me confidence.”
Marysville led 19-9 after the first quarter and 27-21 at halftime. In the third quarter, they appeared to take control with a barrage of 3-pointers.
Evan Woodard and Ryan Basey made consecutive 3-pointers to give the Vikings a 40-29 lead with just three minutes left in the third quarter. But the Big Reds would respond with a 10-0 run behind a Nijere Finney 3-pointer and an Ethan Balon 3-point play to cut the lead down to 40-39 with a minute left to play in the third.
“We just kept working hard and playing hard,” Balon said after scoring 18 points for the Big Reds. “We kept playing and were able to get back in it.”
Marysville led 44-41 entering the fourth quarter as the teams continued to jockey for position.
Port Huron committed several fouls at the onset of the fourth quarter and Marysville entered the bonus early in the stanza and would carry that advantage the remainder of the game.
While the Vikings found a home at the free throw line, Port Huron would struggle throughout the quarter.
“I was biting my tongue to the very end, I know that,” Marysville coach Erik Schunk said. “We’ve fallen short early on in games when we were right at the door and we let it slip. We wanted to finish possessions and make our free throws.”
Marysville was 3 of 4 from the free throw line in the decisive quarter, while Port Huron was 0 of 4.
“It can come down to the simple things,” Port Huron coach Marion Stewart said. “There were some things we did well but some of the fundamental things we missed out on like making our free throws. Those are things we can correct.”
De’Ovion Price scored 19 points to pace Port Huron and Jace Mullins added six.
Evan Woodard scored 18 points to lead Marysville and Lawrence Smafield added 10 points for the Vikings.