January 18, 2021

Mustangs roll to big win

Murray’s defense dominates in first game back

MURRAY – Murray boys basketball (6-2) found its rhythm after a slow return from a two-week layover, knocking off Melcher-Dallas (0-3) 67-42 Monday night.

Head coach Darin Wookey said the first few practices were “sloppy,” but the group started to pick things up late last week. The continual rise to where they were before the break showed as Murray kicked off its non-conference matchup with the Saints.

“About Wednesday, Thursday, Friday that we started having practice, you could start to see them starting to come back into themselves again and gel,” Wookey said.

Melcher-Dallas went up 4-3 against Murray’s zone defense before Wookey enforced the press.

The Saints struggled against the defensive shift as Murray forced three turnovers within 30 seconds. Forcing turnovers at halfcourt, Colton Siefkas knocked down a 3-pointer, Jace Rodecker scored off an offensive rebound and Siefkas scored on a fast break off the press to extend Murray’s lead to 10-5.

Murray continued to keep up pressure through the remainder of the first, forcing four consecutive turnovers to end the quarter. Siefkas took advantage as he scored seven points on his own to give Murray an 18-8 lead entering the second quarter.

Siefkas ended the night with 21 points, a game-high, and grabbed eight rebounds with four assists and four steals.

Wookey wanted to see the offense shine in its first game back from the break, looking to shoot the ball at a higher percentage than the 36.3% the group started the year out shooting.

“I wanted to see us get up-and-down the floor, and I wanted to see us shoot better,” Wookey said. “I feel like this team is a better shooting team than we’ve shot it, and tonight we had to have shot it better. Brycen (Wookey) had a good game. Christian Nevarez has done a nice job of running the point guard position for us, which opens Colton up for some shooting.”

Siefkas had help from the defense, as Murray forced turnovers, which led to open shots from the corner from Brycen Wookey.

Wookey finished with 14 points, knocking down two 3-pointers, and grabbed three rebounds, assisted on two scores and stole two passes.

Murray continued to roll in the second half as the defense picked up the slack of the offense.

“Our goal was to hold them under 40 points,” Darin Wookey said. “We thought we could win the game if we held them to 40, especially since we haven’t been lighting the world on fire scoring.”

The Mustangs had opportunities to score, but the defense remained strong, allowing six points in the fourth quarter as the reserves entered the game.

With three games remaining in the week, Darin Wookey said getting the bench was something he wanted to do as he eyes wins against Mormon Trail, East Union and Moravia to end the week.

“We wanted to be able to rotate and play as many guys as we could if we could get a lead like that,” Darin Wookey said. “So that maybe we could do that and conserve some energy.”

UP NEXT – Murray takes on Mormon Trail on the road at 7:45 p.m. Tuesday before hosting East Union at 7:45 p.m. Thursday and Moravia at 7:45 p.m. Friday.

Murray 67, Melcher-Dallas 42

MD (42)—8 10 18 6

MUR (67) – 18 18 21 10

MELCHER-DALLAS (42) — (FG FT PTS) Totals — 17 4-10 42. Lane VanderLinden 5 1-2 12, Gwen Suntken 5 1-2 11, Ryan Krpan 4 0-2 10, Steven Krpan 3 0-0 7, Gabe Enfield 0 2-4 2. 3-point goals – 4 (Ryan Krpan 2, Steven Krpan 1, VanderLinden 1). Team fouls – 15. Fouled out – None.

Murray (67) — (FG FT PTS) Totals — 26 5-9 67. Colton Siefkas 8 2-3 21, Brycen Wookey 6 0-0 14, Aydan Dinham 4 0-0 10, Christian Nevarez 3 1-2 8, Jace rodecker 3 0-0 6, Andrew Rowe 1 0-0 3, Jarren Gracey 1 0-0 3, Gauge Mongar 0 1-2 1, Avery Flaherty 0 1-2 1. 3-point goals — 10 (Siefkas 3, Dinham 2, Wookey 2, Nevarez 1, Rowe 1). Team fouls — 11. Fouled out — None.