Marquette's Nick Melvin (20) sets up the Crusaders' half-court offense against Lowpoint-Washburn as teammate Sean Kissel readies to cut to the basket during Friday's Tri-County Conference game at Lowpoint-Washburn High School.
Marquette's Nick Melvin (20) sets up the Crusaders' half-court offense against Lowpoint-Washburn as teammate Sean Kissel readies to cut to the basket during Friday's Tri-County Conference game at Lowpoint-Washburn High School.

WASHBURN — With the postseason here before you know it, Marquette boys basketball coach Todd Hopkins was hoping that within Friday's Tri-County Conference contest here with host Lowpoint-Washburn there would be opportunities for his club to work on some things — especially on the offensive end of the floor — that will benefit his club come regional time.

The Crusaders coach received just that, as the visitors saw both man and zone defenses from the host Wildcats and were pretty solid against both. On the defensive end, MA held L-W to just two dozen points and 20% shooting in picking up a 46-24 victory.

Nick Melvin led Marquette (14-13, 5-3) with a game-best 14 points to go along with five rebounds. Sean Kissel added 10 points and four rebounds, with Jake Thomas chipping in seven points and four rebounds off the bench.

Lowpoint-Washburn (4-16, 0-8) was paced by Carson Connelly's seven points.

A pair of hoops from Kissel and a free-throw-line jumper by Shane Reynolds jumped Marquette to a 6-0 lead two and a half minutes in. In the final three minutes of the first, a layup and two free throws from Thomas, plus a 3-pointer from the left wing by Melvin, grew the lead to 16-7 heading to the second.

"They came out and played man-to-man, so we were able to work on our man offense ... with that we wanted to work on being patient, work on setting good screens." said Hopkins. "When the postseason comes around, things change, games tighten up, and teams tighten up. It then comes down to who is going to be better in a half-court set."

Marquette used a 10-2 run to finish off the first half, with an old-fashioned three-point play by Reynolds, a 3 from the wing by Nate Nelson and a pair of hoops from Kissel to head to the locker room up 27-14.

"I thought we did a decent job in our offense, but we still need to keep working the next two weeks." Hopkins said. "We want to put ourselves in a position that, when it comes down to do or die, we can go offensively."

The Crusaders opened the second half with 11 consecutive points, as Melvin posted a pair of 15-foot jumpers and a pair of free throws, with Hoffman scoring on a drive and Logan Nelson burying a triple from the left wing. Three points from Thomas closed out the third with the locals well in command at 41-18.

Marquette returns to action with two road games next week, as they will travel to take on Somonauk on Tuesday, then finish up the regular and Tri-County Conference seasons at Seneca on Friday.

"Tonight was a key for us to work on the things we need to work on to get better, and I feel we were able to do that," said Hopkins.

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At Washburn

Marquette 46, Lowpoint-Washburn 24

(Key: FG-FGA FT-FTA TP)

MARQUETTE (46) — L. Nelson 1-6 0-0 3, Hoffman 1-5 0-0 2, Melvin 5-10 2-2 14, Reynolds 2-5 1-1 5, Kissel 4-8 2-6 10, Thomas 2-3 3-4 7, N. Nelson 1-2 0-0 3, Be. Ewers 0-0 0-0 0, Durdan 0-1 0-0 0, Flavel 0-0 0-0 0, Amicon 0-0 0-1 0, Br. Ewers 0-0 0-0 0, McGrath 0-0 0-0 0, Sharp 1-1 0-0 2. Totals 17-41 8-14 46.

LOWPOINT-WASHBURN (24) — Shawback 1-6 0-0 3, Hofstatter 1-7 0-0 3, White 0-2 0-0 0, Connelly 3-7 1-3 7, Zulz 1-5 1-2 3, Steffen 1-5 1-2 3, Althaus 0-2 2-2 2, Knecht 1-1 0-0 3, Hite 0-2 0-0 0, Beltramea 0-1 0-0 0, Graham 0-2 0-0 0, Birkett 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 8-40 5-9 24.

Marquette (14-13, 5-3) 16 11 14 5 — 46

L-W (4-16, 0-8) 7 7 4 6 — 24

3-point goals — Marquette 4-9 (L. Nelson 1-3, Melvin 2-3, Kissel 0-1, N. Nelson 1-2); L-W 3-22 (Shawback 1-4, Hofstatter 1-6, White 0-1, Connelly 0-3, Steffen 0-2, Althaus 0-1, Knecht 1-1, Hite 0-1, Beltramea 0-1, Graham 0-2). Rebounds — Marquette 33 (Hoffman 5, Melvin 5); L-W 23 (Shawback 4, Steffen 4). Assists — Marquette 9 (Hoffman 3); L-W 6 (Shawback 2, Hofstatter 2). Steals — Marquette 7 (L. Nelson 2, Thomas 2); L-W 3 (3 players with 1 each). Blocks — Marquette 4 (4 players with 1 each); L-W 1 (Steffen 1). Turnovers — Marquette 9; L-W 11. Total fouls (none fouled out) — Marquette 10; L-W 13.

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