GRANVILLE – The Seneca and Marquette Academy boys basketball teams both jumped to quick starts and rolled to running-clock victories in Monday’s quarterfinals at the 96th Tri-County Conference Tournament in Putnam County High School’s R.M. Germano Gymnasium.
The top-seeded Fighting Irish held a substantial first-quarter advantage over No. 8-seeded Lowpoint-Washburn before advancing with a 62-23 triumph.
The No. 2-seeded Crusaders pushed out to a quick advantage to key them to a win over No. 7-seeded Woodland, and used a third quarter burst to eventually finish off a 68-39 win.
Seneca (19-2) will now play the winner of Tuesday’s quarterfinal between fourth-seeded Midland and No. 5 seed Dwight at 6 p.m. on Wednesday in the opening semifinal.
Marquette (17-5) will battle the winner of Tuesday’s winner pitting No. 3 seed Putnam County and sixth-seeded Roanoke-Benson at 7:30 p.m. in the semifinal nightcap.
Seneca 62, Lowpoint-Washburn 23
The Fighting Irish used 11 of Paxton Giertz’s 15 points in the first quarter to grab the 14-point lead. Seneca held a 29-12 lead at the intermission before Lane Provance posted 10 of his game-best 18 points in the third quarter to help extend the lead to 47-21 heading to the fourth.
Braden Ellis added nine points, while Calvin Maierhofer chipped in seven for the Irish.
Baylor Steffen paced the Wildcats (12-11) with eight points.
“We want to get the tempo in our favor, which may mean we have to go to full-court pressure like we did tonight,” Seneca coach Russ Witte said. “Lord knows we haven’t been shooting the ball all that well the past few games, so if we can create turnovers with our defense, the hope is we can get some easy baskets off of that.
“I’m pleased with our effort tonight. Our second quarter wasn’t the cleanest, we maybe got a little complacent, but then we came out and righted the ship to start the second half.
“We have a pretty good two-headed monster with Lane and Paxton, and they both had pretty good nights to lead us.”
Marquette 68, Woodland 39
The Crusaders had seven players find the scoring column in the first quarter to help hold the 12-point lead.
The Warriors, with seven points from Jon Moore and six more from Tucker Hill, held tough in the second quarter, but Marquette, with Tommy Durdan netting nine points in the frame, still held a 37-23 lead at halftime.
The Crusaders built the lead to 56-30 entering the fourth quarter.
Durdan finished with a game-high 17 points to go along with six rebounds. Logan Nelson added 10 points and four rebounds, Krew Bond had eight points, and Charlie Mullen added seven points and a pair of blocks. Griffin Walker and Alex Graham each posted four points and four rebounds.
“I thought our guys came out right from the start and played hard and played well,” Marquette coach Todd Hopkins said. “Give Woodland credit, they were able to knock down a few 3s there in the first half to keep things close. Then I think we started the second half on a nice run where they didn’t score for a while and we’re able to push out to a comfortable lead.
“We just play like we do. We have a lineup that’s pretty spread out, and if we continue to play our game, we’ll be just fine. The only thing we really talked about at halftime was that we needed to continue to push the ball up the floor, and I thought we did a pretty good job with that.”
Woodland (6-15) was paced by 11 points and a game-best eight rebounds by Moore. Connor Dodge had 10 points, Hill nine, and Nick Plesko six points, three rebounds and two blocks.
The Warriors now move to the consolation bracket where they will meet the loser of Putnam County and Roanoke-Benson at 7:30 p.m. Thursday.