Pick a word or phrase – consistent, versatile, unselfish, determined, balanced scoring, coachable, teamwork, humble and hungry and playing hard.
Any or perhaps all describe how the Marshall Statesmen have played so far during the boys high-school basketball season, according to their coach.
After losing their opening game to the Madison Warhawks, the Statesmen bounced back strong to win seven in a row, including two league contests, and are tied for first place in the Liberty District.
The 7-1 start is Marshall’s best since beginning the 2018-19 season with an 11-1 mark.
Third-season Marshall head coach Jerry Lin said there are multiple players responsible for the success.
“Our players are humble and they listen, and we are playing well,” Lin said. “They deserve all the credit. The players know their roles well and they want to win. We have different guys stepping up every game. We have different top scorers all the time.”
Marshall’s most recent victory was a 56-41 home win over a strong Westfield game in non-district action.
Senior forward Adien Hrnjez led Marshall with 16 points, eight rebounds and two blocked shots. Senior wing Gowtam Kommi scored 10 and senior guard Connor Scinto had eight points and 10 rebounds.
Scinto scored 19 points in another game this season.
Senior guard Eli Nassif scored 17 in Marshall’s district road victory at Wakefield. Sophomore guard Jason Penn has been another big contributor along with junior wing Matt Lenert, who scored 20 in one game.
Lin said being in his third season as a head coach makes a difference.
“It takes a little while, but now the players know what you want as a coach and they understand the systems,” Lin said.
Marshall won only four games in last season’s COVID-abbreviated campaign, and was just 7-16 in Lin’s first season in charge.
After losing to Madison, 63-42, in its first game this season, Marshall quickly bounced back with convincing victories over Dominion and Trinity Christian in its own tipoff tournament. Those wins gave the players big confidence, which was further validated with the road triumphs at McLean and Wakefield, followed by a 15-point away victory against the Oakton Cougars.
The Statesmen have three more road games scheduled this week at the eight-team holiday tournament at Fairfax High School.
Then, starting Tuesday, Jan. 4, the Statesmen play five straight district contests, including games with the Langley Saxons and Washington-Liberty Generals, squads that also have 2-0 league marks.
“We have a team that is working really hard and excited about things,” Lin said.