The Billings Wildcats opened the season last week by crushing three teams to win the Lockwood Tournament.
Tuesday night’s road contest at nearby Marionville wasn’t quite as smooth, but the Wildcats still walked away with an 18-point victory despite turnover and foul issues.
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Junior guard Dawson Meyer led four Wildcats in double figures with 29 points as the defending Class 2 champions beat the Comets 78-60.
“We had it easy last week and I just think we thought we’d come in here and have it easy, and we could have, but we weren’t concentrating tonight,” said Billings coach Kendall Tilley. “We didn’t take care of the ball.”
Turnovers by both teams led to more of an up-and-down, full-court flow. Early on, it was only Billings doing much offensively.
The Wildcats led 11-0 and forced Marionville coach Paden Grubbs to call a second timeout just four minutes into the game.
Marionville chopped away at the deficit in the second quarter, only to see Billings go on a late spurt and take a 38-25 lead into intermission.
The Wildcats increased their lead to 48-28 in the third. Marionville closed within 63-51 halfway through the fourth before Billings got a steal and layup from Meyer and two free throws from Brady Chastain to put the game away.
With multiple players in foul trouble for much of the game, Tilley was forced to go deeper into his bench than usual. He said the Wildcats are trying to develop depth and usually play only six players.
“That’s the way it’s always been in the past,” Tilley said. “We’re trying to get that seventh guy to play, but it’s tough. Our starters have been around a long time and they need to play. It’s hard for me to go to the bench too much. And we lose a lot. They have to come in and play the right way if they want to stay in the game.”
Billings 78, Marionville 60
Billings 18 20 16 24 --- 78
Marionville 7 18 13 22 --- 60
Billings – Dawson Meyer 29, Chad Yeokum 15, Austin Essick 13, Lane Truman 10, Brady Chastain 7, Steven Driscoll 2, Ben Sanning 2
Marionville – Marty Minnis 14, Geoffrey Stafford 10, Lathan Kerans 9, Derek Malcom 8, Ryan White 8, Seth Smith 7, Nate Hill 4