From knocking down the three to shutting out the opposition, Marietta is peaking at the right time.

From knocking down the three to shutting out the opposition, Marietta is peaking at the right time.

The Indians won their 14th consecutive game and avenged last season’s district championship loss with a 55-30 win over Marietta in a Class 3A Area IV District 5 matchup.

For Marietta (22-1), ranked fourth in Class 3A, it was a complete win. The Indians served up a defensive clinic in the first quarter, shutting out Kingston 16-0 and forcing eight turnovers. The Indians were so systematic in the first period that leading scorer Tanica Anderson didn’t get on the scoresheet until 37 seconds left in the quarter.

By that time, the Indians were up 12-0.

“They are really quick to recover on defense, which makes it really difficult to get any scores,” Kingston coach Wesley Burnett said. “We dug ourselves a hole and played intimidated the rest of the time.

“They (Marietta) were good last season, but the way they shot tonight, this team is better.”

In the second quarter, the Indians showed off their range. After extending the lead with defense to start the game, Marietta slammed the door shut with the 3-ball in the second period, hitting five 3-pointers and finishing the quarter on a 14-2 run.

Kingston scored its first points of the game at the 6-minute mark of the second period, but Dakota Ingram hit the Indians’ first three of the night to increase the lead to 19-2.

Following a 5-0 run by Kingston, Ingram and Jamie Hambrick, both bench players, hit back-to-back 3-pointers to give Marietta a 27-7 lead. The Indians led 35-9 at halftime.

Ingram finished with a game-high 13 points and three of Marietta’s seven 3-pointers. After the game, however, all the talk was about the defense.

“That’s our strong point,” Ingram said of the Indians’ defense. “We get confidence from playing good “D”.”

“Starting the game up 16-0 goes back to our effort and toughness,” Marietta coach Duane Shaw said. “Even when our shots aren’t falling, our defensive effort should always be consistent.

“You don’t see many teams late in regionals/areas that can’t play defense.”

Last season, Marietta lost in the district final to Coalgate, which forced the Indians to win six games to get to the state tournament. This time, state should come a little easier.

“It’s a really good feeling that we aren’t starting off on a hard road like last year,” Marietta senior Alyssa Juarez said. “It wasn’t fun last year.”

Six Marietta players scored six points or more in the win. Tysia Manuel had eight points and nine rebounds for the Indians, Juarez and Tanica Anderson each scored seven and Kamiah Anderson, Tayler Barrick and Hambrick each scored six.

Alecia McGahey, Jessica Reeves and Brittany Elizardo each finished with four points for Kingston.
Marietta will meet Saturday’s Coalgate/Hartshorne winner at 6:30 Thursday in regional action at Southeastern Oklahoma State. Kingston will face the loser at 1:30.

Erik K. Horne,