By Jeremy McDonald
AURORA, Ore.– Call it that clutch-factor.
For the second-time in three days, North Marion Boys Basketball got it done down the stretch for the victory.
Thursday, it was Sergio Jimenez and Bryce Lemon who led the way throughout the game before Jimenez took off in the fourth. Saturday, it was Grant Henry who helped spark the team following Sam Garcia’s free throw.
Garcia, though his one free throw was his lone point of the game in his few minutes of the game, brought the Huskies within two at 41-39 that led up to the run.
“I just go in there and just do my thing you know, just play hard,” said Garcia as the junior ran back on defense to help them get a quick turnover.
That great next defensive stand led Grant Henry drained a three off for the then 42-41 lead with 6:38 left in the game and then turned a rebound into point to put the North Marion Huskies up 44-41 5:40 left.
Trevor Ensign picked up the next defensive rebound and fed it to Grant Henry, and as Grant Henry drove, he was fouled going up for a shot and made both free throws. 46-41 with the time going below five.
“When we’ve been struggling, today we showed in the second and third quarter and we needed a big fourth quarter to cap off the win,” said Henry, who scored 18 of his 32 points in the fourth quarter. “There’s no cupcake games our coach (Wade) Murray said, we just had to make sure we hold it.”
During that period of the late second quarter and the third, the Huskies saw the Irish turn their eight-point lead and turn momentum in their direction entering the fourth quarter.
Waldport had chances to claw back with free throws during the middle part of the quarter, but the Irish went 0-4 from the line as the Huskies kept momentum firmly in their direction, as Jimenez pushed the lead to eight on two free throws as North Marion pushed their lead to 13 with 3:20 left in the game.
Jimenez had six points with another great defensive game as did Ensign put up 10 points and Lemon had nine to help the Huskies from the offensive end of the ball.
And as North Marion polished off the 64-47 victory Saturday, they’ll have a practice to prepare for a tall Marshfield team who have two six-foot-seven athletes in Corey Stover and Grant Webster and another six-foot-six athlete in Dontae Givens.
“We just got to go out there and play, play our game,” said Garcia.
Henry points to the learning experiences from this and from Thursday as they prepare for the Pirates in Coos Bay.
“That’s what our coaches empathize to us during practice, we can’t get down and let them get a run on us. We can’t get it all back in one-play, we got to make our defense lead into our offense,” said Henry.