As expected, there was some early rust for the Marshall Statesmen, who on Jan. 8 were playing their first game since Dec. 20 and last practiced on New Year’s Eve.
So when the boys high-school basketball team missed its first four shots, struggled with early turnovers and fell behind the visiting Chantilly Chargers, 3-0, in a Jan. 8 non-district game, it was no surprise. Marshall eventually got going and rallied to win big, 58-44.
“You’re worried the first game back, and there was a lot of rust, in the first quarter especially,” Marshall coach Jerry Lin said. “But then we got going and were unselfish the whole game. This is a group with different skill sets that all mesh very well.”
By the end of the first quarter, the Statesmen began finding a rhythm on offense and were ahead for good with a 12-9 lead. Marshall led 28-18 at halftime despite seven turnovers, then were up big, 49-29, after three periods. Most of the Marshall starters did not play in the final quarter.
The Statesmen had just three second-half turnovers, as they improved to 8-1 with their eighth straight victory.
Marshall had not played or practiced in so long because a holiday tournament was canceled in which it was scheduled to play three games, then any games or practices from Jan. 3 through 7 were canceled because of weather issues.
Once the Statesmen got going in the second quarter against Chantilly, Lin thought the team was back to its balanced ways. Marshall closed the first half with an 8-0 run.
“We don’t have that ‘one guy’ on offense, but we have a lot unselfishness and balance,” Lin said. “They like to find each other for open shots.”
Marshall had three players score in double figures against Chantilly, led by forward Adien Hrnjez with 17 points, and three three-pointers. He added five rebounds, four steals and three assists.
Marshall forward Gowtam Kommi scored 11 and guard/forward Matt Lenert scored 10 and had seven rebounds and three assists. Also, guard Eli Nassif had seven points, three rebounds and two blocks; guards Jason Penn and Connor Scinto (four assists, three steals) scored two each; and Alexey Rothman had four points and four rebounds off the bench.
Marshall ended up shooting 37 percent from the floor, but had 18 assists as a team.
NOTE: Marshall has upcoming Liberty District games against Herndon and McLean, which are a combined 0-5 in the league. Marshall is tied for first at 2-0 with the Langley Saxons and Washington-Liberty Generals.