MORGAN TWP. | In a classic back-and-forth Indiana high school basketball game, momentum can swing one way or another at a moment’s notice.
On Saturday night at Morgan Twp., momentum swung in favor of Marquette early in the fourth quarter.
The Blazers outscored 21st Century by 11 points in the final period en route to a 72-57 win in the sectional championship game.
It is Marquette’s first boys basketball sectional title since 2000 and just the second in program history.
The Blazers (16-6) took the lead for good late in the third quarter on a Braxton Miller 3-pointer. The score remained close until midway through the fourth, when the Marquette defense locked down and held 21st Century without a field goal for nearly two minutes.
Over the final 1:15, the Blazers outscored 21st Century 8-2.
Marquette sealed the game at the free throw line, hitting 13-of-16 attempts from the stripe over the final three-and-a-half minutes, including a 9-for-10 effort from Richard Mitchell.
“We really work on discipline towards the end of games when we have leads,” Marquette coach Donovan Garletts said. “That’s the huge advantage and I think just a lovely piece of Indiana high school basketball: there’s no shot clock.
"People argue there’s not high enough scores or there’s not fast-paced games; you can’t tell me that game wasn’t fast-paced.”
Mitchell led the Blazers with a game-high 24 points, going 14 for 16 overall from the free throw line. Miller added 17 and Ryan Fazekas scored 10.
The second quarter featured three ties and eight lead changes before Marquette went on a 7-2 run including four straight points from Ryan Fazekas to end the half with a 32-28 lead.
The Cougars benefited from a late turnover and a layup at the buzzer by Dejuan Pinkin to cut the lead to four.
Eugene German led the Cougars (15-6) with 20 points. Pinkin added 10. Both players fouled out late in the fourth quarter.