Akron-Westfield boys basketball defeats Trinity Christian

Tuesday, January 17, 2023

AKRON — Akron-Westfield’s boys basketball team is beginning to find a formula which leads to victories. Coach Chad Clay’s Westerners jumped to a 17-10 first-quarter lead en route to a 59-46 War Eagle Conference triumph over Trinity Christian Friday night.

It was the second straight win for a club which entered an eventual 64-32 win one night earlier at Alcester-Hudson (S.D.) with a 1-9 record and a five-game losing streak.

“It has been a point of emphasis for us all year, preventing straight-line drives,” said Clay. “We’re rebounding and preventing teams from getting offensive rebounds. That has been big for us.”

Laytin Koch scored 15 points and Jackson Marnach added 14 points for Akron-Westfield (3-9, 2-4 WEC), which jumped to a 17-10 first quarter lead. Clay’s club then outscored the Tigers 21-7 in the second quarter to take a 38-17 halftime lead.

“(Trinity Christian) put on a little bit of pressure and I thought we did a good job of attacking it,” said Clay. “We got some transition points. We got fairly good looks early in the shot clock that fell for us. So, we hit shots early and had a nice offensive rhythm. Scoring 38 points in the first half of a high school basketball game is pretty good.”

Currently 0-6 in the WEC, Trinity Christian trailed 51-26 a minute into the fourth quarter before suddenly pulling within seven points with 2:30 left. Teammates Eli Klein and Drew Poppema combined to hit three 3-pointers in a 90-second span, but the Westerners’ Jacob Myers buried a three for a 10-point cushion that they never lost the rest of the way.

Marnach posted his fourth double-double of the week. Aside from making 6-of-7 field goals, the 6-foot-5 junior also grabbed 17 rebounds. During the four-game stretch that began with Monday’s 66-59 overtime loss to Gehlen Catholic, Marnach averaged 15.5 points and 15.5 rebounds.

“Jackson has been doing a great job getting himself in the right spots and timing his jumps,” said Clay. “On offensive rebounds, he keeps the ball high and has done well finishing through contact.”

Carter Wilken provided nine points, three assists and two steals for the Westerners. Myers threw four assists. Marnach also blocked two shots.

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