Leading 33-32 after three periods, Marietta outscored Colbert 17-4 in the fourth to pull away for a 50-36 win over the Leopards on Friday.


Leading 33-32 after three periods, Marietta outscored Colbert 17-4 in the fourth to pull away for a 50-36 win over the Leopards on Friday.


Colbert got a layup by Taylor Reeve 5 seconds into the fourth to give the Leopards their first lead since 34-33. An inside bucket by Colbert’s Mercedes Jones cut the Marietta lead to 38-36 almost 3 minutes later, but the Indians scored the game’s final 12 points to  capture the win.


“We didn’t play very well at all tonight until the final period,” Marietta coach Duane Shaw said.

“Our pressure defense didn’t bother them at all. And coach (Mike) Fitts had a good game plan for them. We didn’t defend very well, and we aren’t shooting particularly well. If we have an Achilles heel, it would have to be our shooting. We continue to struggle with our shooting from the floor.”


Marietta (6-0) took a 12-6 lead to the second and maintained a 27-22 edge at halftime. But in the third the Leopards made a 10-6 run that had them within a point heading to the final 8 minutes.


Colbert (10-2) went to its inside game almost exclusively in the second half. Time after time down the court, the Leopards managed to get the ball to Jones in the paint, who hit three of their four second-half field goals.


Jones finished with a game-high 16 points for the Leopards.


Turnovers played a big role, especially in the third, when the Leopards made a run. Marietta committed eight miscues in the period and hit just three from the floor. In the fourth, the Indians’ speed started to take over the game.


With Colbert desperate for possessions, they were forced to foul, and the Indians made them pay. Marietta hit 13 of 18 from the line in the final eight minutes to gradually add to its lead.


Both squads hit 67 percent from the stripe. But Marietta finished the game 18-for-27 from the line to just 4-for-6 for Colbert. The Indians owned a 29-20 rebounding edge and a huge 12-3 advantage on the offensive glass.


“Since we do struggle so much with our shooting, I’ve told the girls we will probably see more and more zone defenses as we go through the season,” Shaw said. “One of the reasons we press so much defensively is to get turnovers and easy buckets at the other end. That didn’t happen tonight, because they handled our pressure well. We did finally put everything together in the final five or six minutes to get the win, however.”


Tanica Anderson paced the Indians with 12 points. Dakota Ingram and Tysia Manual both chipped in nine points. Morgan Wright was in double figures for the Leopards with 10 points.