MOUNDSVILLE - On Senior Night, the John Marshall boys' basketball team turned in its most explosive offensive output of the season.
Averaging 44 points a game entering Friday night's rematch against visiting Union Local, the Monarchs erupted with 28 points in the first quarter and breezed from there to a 78-57 victory.
It was victory No. 5 in 16 games for Coach Bill Storm's squad, which repeated an earlier triumph against the equally struggling Jets, now 6-13.
John Marshall’s Evan Magers (23) dribbles around the guard of Union Local’s Collin Jones (13) during Friday’s game.
Senior Guards Derek Och and Ryan Davis provided most of the scoring as they combined for 41 points. Och, with 10 points in the opening eight minutes and seven during the second quarter, cashed in on 9 of 13 bucket attempts on his way to 21 points. Davis (8 of 20) followed with 20 points.
Both drained three trifectas, while also finishing in double-figures for John Marshall was 6-foot-4 senior Cole Sobutka with 11 points. Other seniors honored prior to tipoff were the Monarchs' leading scorer this season, Evan Magers, along with R.J. Kibert, Dustin Whitfield and Mitchell Whorton.
''That is the way it used to feel around here," said the raspy-voiced Storm after the Monarchs torrid 34 of 54 shooting effort. ''I haven't quit coaching them as you can tell by my voice. We started out with intensity (Friday night) and did not have a four-point quarter, which we've done several times this year."
Union Local's hopes for a revenge victory suffered a huge blow early in the second quarter when three-year starter Jacob Bailey went to the floor hard and sustained a possible knee injury which saw him immediately taken to the hospital to be checked out.
''We were up 10 at the time their kid got hurt and he must show a lot of leadership because they really looked like they needed a leader after he went out," Storm added.
Bailey, the top returning starter from last season, had five points in the first quarter, including a 3-pointer from behind the top of the circle that gave the Jets their biggest lead at 6-2.
Sobutka, who began the John Marshall scoring with a transition layup after one of nine Union Local turnovers during the opening quarter, pulled the Monarchs back within two points on his stickback goal.
Och began his big night with a 3-pointer from the right wing, then stole the inbounds pass and laid the ball off the glass to put John Marshall in front to stay at 9-6. Bailey's two foul shots made it a 9-8 Jets' deficit but the Monarchs then scored the game's next 12 points to take command.
''I'm really proud of the way the seniors played," Storm continued. ''When you shoot the ball well, it covers up a lot of mistakes."
The Jets made their last big run at the outset of the second quarter, scoring seven quick points on Kaleb McDiffitt's goal, a conventional three-point play by Collin Jones and talented sophomore Gavin Porter's runner. Och's nice drive to the rim ended that UL run but a minute later the Jets were back within six points at 30-24 after baskets by Porter and Jones.
Och's 3-pointer sent the lead back out to 35-24 and by halftime, another spurt had John Marshall back on top 44-28,
Davis and Magers divided 10 points in the third quarter as the lead was extended to 60-36.
Porter, with 10 points in each half, led Union Local with 20 points, while Jones had 10 points and nine rebounds.
The Jets finished with 22 turnovers, six more than John Marshall's 16 lost possessions.