UNION TWP. | Youth was served in the opening round of the Greater South Shore Conference tournament on Monday night.
Underclassmen from Marquette Catholic and Wheeler were the stars of the night as the schools split a girls-boys doubleheader to begin tournament play.
Wheeler freshman Iliyah Horsfall scored a career-high 14 points to lead the Bearcats to a 50-14 victory in the girls opener while Marquette sophomore Kyren Miller scored 14 points in his first extended varsity action in a 63-41 boys victory.
The Wheeler girls started their game on a 10-0 run and then added a 24-0 run as the Bearcats (8-8) extended the lead with an all-freshmen lineup in the second quarter. Horsfall hit her first four shots and looked like an experienced veteran in the post.
“This game was definitely a confidence booster for me,” Horsfall said. “We have such a young team and when we play well, we can really grow from that.”
Kadie Spoor scored nine of her 13 points in the first quarter. Fellow freshman starter Katie Reif added four rebounds and four assists.
“We’ve been working on our depth,” Nelson said. “When we came into the season we had three girls that had varsity experience. Tonight we got to see a little bit more of our depth and it’s good for them because now we have experience if we need to go to some of them down the road.”
The Marquette boys entered the game shorthanded as star Ryan Fazekas missed his second straight game with a high-ankle sprain suffered against Andrean nine days ago. Senior starter Richard Mitchell was held out of the game for undisclosed reasons, but will be able to play against Bishop Noll on Tuesday night.
With a short bench, Marquette coach Donovan Garletts not only promoted several junior varsity players, but he called on them in the second quarter, utilizing a hockey-style line change that shook the Blazers (8-5) out of a slow start.
“I usually play seven guys, but the goal tonight was to get some fresh legs,” Garletts said. “Our JV guys played a good game earlier and I knew they’d be pumped up. It was a morale change when we put those guys in.”
Miller, who has been battling a foot injury, knocked down two 3-pointers and made several hustle plays on the other end of the court as the Marquette bench cheered on. Fellow sophomore Nathan Flores added 13 points.
“This was great for competition,” Garletts said. “Our guys know if they aren’t playing well, our sophomores are chomping at the bit to get on the floor.”
James Miller had 14 points to lead the Bearcats (3-6) while Chris Nodd added eight points.