MHS students and Monty free throw.JPG

Marshfield’s students raise their arms as Monty Swinson attempts a free throw during last week’s season opener against Sutherlin.

COOS BAY — Marshfield’s boys basketball team beat visiting Sutherlin 51-46 last Thursday night in the coaching debut of Casey McCCord, but he was quick to keep things in perspective while being congratulated for his first win.

“It’s about the kids,” McCord said.

And his kids played a strong second half to overcome a two-point halftime deficit and beat the Bulldogs.

“Our defense really carried us in the second half,” McCord said, specifically mentioning “our effort and intensity.”

The Pirates got 21 points from Mason Ainsworth, 12 from Pierce Davidson and nine from Noah Niblett, but McCord was quick to point to the team defense holding the Bulldogs to 10 points in the third quarter and two through most of the fourth quarter before some late 3-pointers made the final score relatively close.

“We expected our defense to be ahead of our offense,” McCord said of the team’s defensive effectiveness.

In the first half, Marshfield was occasionally sloppy with the ball, leading to a number of turnovers, and wasn’t as efficient getting good shots, McCord said.

“The first half, we weren’t getting the ball to the spots we wanted to,” he said. “We want to put pressure on the defense and get a layup if we can, and if we can’t we want to kick the ball out and get open shots.”

Part of the game plan in the second half was to get the ball inside to Davidson, who was able to get to the hoop with good position inside.

Meanwhile, Ainsworth scored on a number of drives to the basket, as well as a pair of 3-pointers and connecting on seven of his eight free throws.

Niblett was effective making jumpers in the key and Ainsworth said a number of other players also are capable of producing big nights on offense.

“We want to be as balanced as we can,” he said. “We have a number of guys who can shoot and can score.”

Collin Bodine had 13 points, Trevin Wattman 11 and Kolbi Stinnett 10 for Sutherlin.

The game started the relatively short basketball season on a positive note for Marshfield, and McCord said he was thrilled for the kids to get an opportunity after the winter sports were delayed to the end of the school year so they would have the best chance of being allowed under state guidelines during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

“Most important, our kids are going to have some fun over the next five weeks,” he said. “It was fun to see fans in the stands.”

Marshfield almost picked up a great road win at Churchill on Saturday, falling to the Class 5A Lancers 63-61 in overtime.

Ainsworth had 27 points, Dom Montiel 17 and Davidson 12 for the Pirates, who overcame an eight-point halftime deficit to force the extra session.

“We came out very physical in the second half and out-rebounded them 18-8,” McCord said.

The Pirates jump into Sky-Em League play with games at home against Cottage Grove on Tuesday and Marist Catholic on Saturday, sandwiched around a trip to Siuslaw on Thursday.

“We are looking forward to beginning league and competing hard,” McCord said.

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