By Joseph Hayes
It was exactly the result they had hoped to avoid.
The Marysville boys basketball team saw its season come to a close Tuesday night in district play against Imlay City.
But it was the way the Vikings loss that made the defeat difficult to take.
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In Marysville’s 76-47 loss to Imlay City, the Vikings played with only two regular varsity starters and five overall varsity players. Joining them were three junior varsity players in the starting lineup in the loss.
Marysville actually led 16-12 at the conclusion of the first quarter, before the wheels fell off and the Spartans surged ahead, 29-24, entering halftime.
That lead continued to grow in the second half and Imlay City never looked back.
Parker Lewis led all scorers for Imlay City with 17 points. Will Tolley contributed 13 points for the Spartans and Dominic Ljuldjuraj (10 points), Holden Redd (nine points), Raymond Liu (eight points) and Dorian Lewis (seven points) also contributed in the Spartans effort.
Sam Lasher scored 16 points to lead Marysville and Kyle Negin had 13 points.
Marysville was missing the bulk of its team due to contact tracing regarding COVID-19. That took several key players out of the Vikings lineup.
“We went in with a mostly JV roster and battled as long as we could,” Marysville basketball coach Erik Schunk said. “We had the lead after the first. But it was just too much for the young squad to handle.
“The two seniors that were still clear to play (Sam Lasher and Kyle Negin) are my usual scrappy defensive minded role players. They stepped up and scored 16 and 13 points respectively.”
But Lasher and Negin’s efforts weren’t enough for the Vikings to overcome all they would face.
“What I will remember the most about this season are the seniors and how committed they were to doing all the right things to make sure we played as many games as we possibly could and we’re as successful as we possibly could be,” Schunk said.
Coach Schunk hopes there will still be positives that comes out of the game.
“The silver lining in this is hopefully the JV players that got to experience that understand what they need to do in the off-season to be at the varsity level by the time the ball tips next November,” Schunk said.