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Given a few breaks, the Marion County R-II boys basketball team could have played in the Monroe City Tournament consolation final, or even better.
Instead, they were eliminated after losses by a combined seven points.
The eighth-seeded Mustangs came close to pulling off the upset of the year in their tournament opener when they fell to top-seeded Monroe City 51-45.
It actually came down to one tough quarter for the Mustangs who trailed by just two going into the second period, when the host squad went on a 21-10 run to take a 13-point lead.
Marion County started eating into the lead after the break to make a valiant comeback, out-scoring Monroe City 24-17 the rest of the way, but it wasn’t quite enough.
Joey Lagemann led the team by sinking three long-shots and scoring a team-high 16 points, while Caden Stotts came off the bench to sink three treys for nine points.
Also scoring were Jackson Strewart, seven, Porter Britt, six, Wyatt Goldinger, four, and Root Cheney, three.
The Mustangs then came so close to pulling off another upset and reaching the consolation final in a 59-58 loss to fifth-seeded Highland, Thursday.
Once again, the Mustangs fell behind early, only to fight their way back.
The Cougars jumped ahead 19-10 before going into halftime up 36-22.
But, Marion County regrouped at the break and proceeded to out-score Highland 36-23 the rest of the way only to fall short by one point.
Four starters did all the scoring for Marion County including Britt, 17, Lagermann, 16, Goldinger, 14, and Stewart, 11.
The Mustangs are scheduled this week to host Green City, Thursday, and travel to Scotland County, Friday.
They complete the 2022 portion of their schedule when they travel to LaPlata, Dec. 19.