Maranatha boys can avenge weekend loss to McLouth in Thursday matchup
Despite a superior effort from senior forward Jared Dolinar, the Maranatha Academy boys basketball team couldn’t get past the hometown opponent.
McLouth outscored the Eagles in overtime Saturday and took a 49-46 victory in the third-place game of the McLouth Invitational Tournament.
Dolinar accounted for half of the Eagles’ points, as his 23 points paved the way for Maranatha (4-6).
Dolinar’s efforts became extremely crucial to the Eagles as their leading scorer, senior Robby Thomas, injured his wrist early in the game and then fouled out late in the fourth quarter.
Dolinar helped dig Maranatha out of an early deficit, but his efforts weren’t enough as the Eagles offense dried up in overtime.
“We got down by nine in the first quarter,” Maranatha coach Tavis Hackathorn said. “They (McLouth) did a good job of pushing in transition and getting easy buckets, but we didn’t panic. We executed offensively and got the ball inside to Jared when we needed to. In overtime, they got ahead early and we kept it to within a point most of the way, but they hit a late three. We had a shot to tie it at the end of the game, but it rimmed off.”
Despite losing their final two games of the tournament, the Eagles came away with plenty of positives from the experience, Hackathorn said.
“We played some 2A and 3A schools that were our size and more like the teams we will see in February,” Hackathorn said. “We learned what we needed to work on, like getting back in transition. There were also a couple of times we let them have open threes and we learned that we have to get a hand in the shooter’s face.”
Perhaps the biggest dose of good news for the Eagles — besides Dolinar’s offensive prowess inside — came from the play of senior guard Luke Miller, who came off the bench to provide solid minutes for Maranatha.
“Luke has had to become our backup point guard, and he started to make better decisions and got us into the offense we needed to be in,” Hackathorn said. “He also made some key shots for us and was really aggressive in his defending.”
The fourth-place finish for the Eagles moved their overall record to 4-6. Maranatha will return to regular season action at 8 p.m. on Thursday with a rematch against the Bulldogs when the Eagles play host to McLouth (8-4).