Auburndale holds off Marathon
By MMC staff
MARATHON – Coaches in the Marawood Conference often say you can “throw the records out” when they face one another in high school basketball and Jan. 28 may have been another example of what they mean when they say that.
The 14-1 Auburndale boys basketball team played at 5-7 Marathon. Not even close, right? Well, you could have probably guessed going in that the game would be close, even without all the great history between the two rivals. After all, Auburndale was averaging 70 points per game, while Marathon went in averaging 63. That’s exactly how it played out, as the Apaches outlasted the Red Raiders 61-54, winning a seven-point game, which is what the averages told us it would be.
“I thought we did a nice job weathering the foul trouble in the first half, and then I thought in the second half that their defense was good, and we were giving up a little too much of the paint, and they were able to get back in the game that way,” Auburndale Head Coach Chad Weinfurter said after the game. “But give our kids credit. They showed some perseverance after we were down by three. Cooper (Weinfurter) hit that ‘three’ and got fouled and knocked it (the foul shot) in, and then we were able to find some points in some other ways because they did a great job of shutting off our shooters.”
The Auburndale halftime lead was also seven, at 34-27. Both teams scored 27 points in the second half, as the Apaches won by the same margin. It was a game of runs, however, as Marathon took the lead in the second half on several different occasions. But the Apaches were able to do enough to get the win.
“This is how it goes in the second half of the season,” Weinfurter added. “Our kids made some winning plays. I thought when I put Kaden Hoffman in with the idea of getting a little more offense after they started face-guarding Cooper, I thought that actually worked to our advantage a little bit because we were able to punch that gap and get to the rim.
“I think Hunter (Wright) had a couple layups off of it, and I thought that was a key that our kids were able to recognize that, and take advantage of something that they were doing defensively.
“People might look at Marathon’s record and say they’re this-or-that and down this year, but they’re still an extremely competitive group of kids with an excellent coaching staff, and I told our kids coming in this isn’t going to be a walk over here. They’re going to battle us. They’re searching for that signature win to get them back on track. I feel for their coach and players because they’re not used to a season quite like this, but once again their competitive spirit was there, and I’m sure they’re going to get it turned around sooner than later. ”
Cooper Weinfurter led Auburndale with 22 points. Hunter Wright added 14 points. Cody Trowbridge had eight points and eight rebounds.
Marathon was led by Clarke Mouw’s 16 points.
The Apaches sweep the season series with Marathon, having defeated the Red Raiders 71-62 back on Dec. 13. With the win, the Apaches improved to 15-1 overall, and 10-1 in the South Division of the Marawood Conference. Auburndale is still chasing Stratford. The Tigers hold the top spot in the conference, and remain unbeaten. Stratford plays at Auburndale Feb. 21.