MARION — The Carbondale boys basketball team kicked off the new year in fine fashion against a good Marion squad on Friday night.
The Terriers jumped out to a 15-point cushion in the first quarter and never looked back in a 66-49 victory over the Wildcats in South Seven Conference action.
Fresh off an impressive championship at the Carbondale Holiday Tournament, Marion had a huge crowd on hand. But Wildcat fans were never able to get into the game because Carbondale jumped out to a quick 14-2 advantage.
“We were good in a lot of areas, and we had tremendous energy to start the game and all night,” said Carbondale coach Jim Miller. “It was a collective effort offensively, and we had everybody contributing and scoring. That comes from trusting each other. The kids are starting to develop confidence in themselves and their teammates.”
Sophomore Clayton Greer, who racked up a game-high 18 points, scored the first six points of the ball game. Seth Ousley and Darius Beane drained 3-pointers, and Greer scored in the paint. Just five minutes in, the Terriers amassed a 12-point lead.
Davaris Macklin knocked down a shot from beyond the arc, and Carbondale led 22-4 early in the second quarter. Jackson Connor and Justin Saddoris did the bulk of the scoring for Marion in the second quarter, but the Wildcats still trailed by 14 points at halftime.
“If it would have been a road game, it would be like we didn’t get off the bus,” said Marion coach Gus Gillespie. “There was no excuse. Give Carbondale credit because they had some guys step up. It was just one of those games where we just never played. We did not perform.”
Justin Johnson made 1 of 2 from the charity stripe, which saw Marion slice its deficit to just 10 with 3:28 left in the third quarter. But the Terriers immediately ripped off six straight points to push the advantage back to 16.
Beane made a bucket during the mini-run and assisted on the other two baskets.
“They had Darius locked for about 75 percent of the game,” Miller said. “When he’s locked, it means other people have to contribute. They showed a lot of confidence in their abilities tonight, and Darius didn’t force it. He just took what they were giving him, and he was working hard off the ball.”
The Terriers (13-3, 4-1) built a 20-point advantage in the fourth quarter. Saddoris led Marion (11-3, 2-2) with 13 points, and Jaden Lacy added 10.
Beane contributed 12 points for Carbondale, and Zee Johnson tallied 10.