Marshall's Derek Buysse put up a second-half shot against Grand Rapids in a Class 3A quarterfinal game Wednesday at Williams Arena in Minneapolis. Marshall defeated Grand Rapids 69-52. Photo: JEFF WHEELER * email@example.com
Marshall is celebrating the 50th anniversary of its only state championship team. The Tigers would like nothing better than to honor them in style with a repeat performance.
In the most up-tempo game of the four Class 3A quarterfinal matchups, Marshall utilized its quickness to put Grand Rapids back on its heels. The third-ranked Tigers (28-2) scored 36 first-half points in racing to a 10-point advantage, and went on to defeat the Thunderhawks 69-52 Wednesday at Williams Arena.
Grand Rapids battled back in the second half, making it one possession game (47-45) with 9 minutes, 32 seconds remaining. The Tigers then went on a 12-2 run to regain control.
The Thunderhawks (20-10) relied on Division I recruit Alex Illikainen to try and keep it close, and he’s still recovering from an injury. The 6-foot-9 sophomore, who was wearing a brace on his left hand after suffering a broken metacarpal bone in the hand during practice just over a month ago, finished with a game-high 31 points.
Junior Riley Sharbono paced the Tigers’ offensive attack with 18 points. Senior Aaron Mathiowetz added 14 points.
1) Riley Sharbono (Marshall)-The junior guard was outstanding for the Tigers, getting points from all over the court as he helped control the tempo of the game. He finished with a team high 18 points and added four assists and four rebounds.
2) Alex Illikainen (Grand Rapids)-The 6'9" center was a force all afternoon, seemingly scoring points at will. He lead all scorers with 31 points and at one point helped the Thunderhawks cut the second half lead to two after trailing by 10 at halftime. He also chipped in three blocks and two steals.
3) Aaron Mathiowetz (Marshall)-The senior forward finished with 14 points, but it was the energy that he brought that made the difference. He ended up attempting six shots from beyond the arc and made four of them, prompting the fans to chant "shoot!" every time he touched the ball. He also added six rebounds and seven assists.
Benjamin Bakker MN Basketball Hub