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HS bball: Marsh Valley relies on pressure to down Pocatello

January 8, 2017 GMT

POCATELLO — From the opening tip, Pocatello could not handle Marsh Valley’s pressure.

After scoring on their first possession of the game, the Indians turned the ball over on 10 of their next 16 possessions on their way to a 54-34 home loss Saturday to the Eagles at The Palace.

Pocatello (5-8, 4-0 4A District 5-6) committed 27 turnovers and shot 22.2 percent from the floor in the loss.

“We struggled,” Pocatello coach Brock Gunter said. “We were doing a good job against pressure, but tonight we couldn’t handle anything. We can’t win games turning the ball over like we did.”

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Saturday’s win was Marsh Valley’s seventh in a row, four of which have come by 10 points or more. It was also the team’s second victory against Pocatello in 18 days.

Despite turning the ball over 22 times, Marsh Valley (9-4) led for 30 minutes, 57 seconds and did not relinquish a double-digit advantage from the 6:45 mark of the second quarter to the final buzzer.

The Eagles forced five or more turnovers in each quarter and held the Indians to below 50 percent shooting in each frame. Pocatello did not make more than four field goals in any period.

“We threw them off their game,” Marsh Valley coach Kyle McQuivey said. “They had a tough time getting the ball down to get a shot. We did a real good job.”

Marsh Valley’s constant full-court pressure baffled the Indians, who struggled to string together consecutive successful possessions. Whether it was a turnover before reaching half court or a possession-flipping error after initiating their offense, the Indians’ could not find their rhythm.

Pocatello’s first field goal came 3:38 into the second quarter and its second field goal was at the 4:48 mark of the third frame. The team made eight field goals in 32 minutes.

“Tonight, with all the pressure, we had a hard time just settling down and getting into an offense,” Gunter said. “We didn’t execute.”

Along with its stifling defense, Marsh Valley used crisp ball movement on offense to find holes in Pocatello’s defense. The Eagles did not have a double-digit scorer, but five players scored seven points or more.

Paige Vorwaller and McKenzie Gunter led the Eagles with nine points each.

“Everybody did a good job,” McQuivey said. “We passed well and had nice assists. For the most part, there wasn’t one player that stood out.”

Pocatello’s Destiny Harris led the Indians with nine points, six of which came in the fourth quarter. It was the lone frame Pocatello outscored Marsh Valley.

Before the final period, Harris was 1 of 6 from the field.

“We look up to Destiny,” Gunter said. “Our biggest games are when she scores. It took her until the fourth quarter to get going. That is a key for us. She is a big part of our offense. She gets everyone going.”