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Marquette senior Curtiss Johnson (No. 14) goes up for a layup as Hall junior Austin Schmitt defends Friday during the Crusaders’ 65-62 victory in a Tri-County Conference game in Spring Valley. NewsTribune photo/Amanda Whitlock
Hall senior Brett Fanning (No. 10) drives to the basket Friday during the Red Devils’ 65-62 loss to Marquette in a Tri-County Conference game in Spring Valley. Fanning scored a game-high 26 points and reached 1,000 for his career. NewsTribune photo/Amanda Whitlock
Marqutte’s Curtiss Johnson celebrated his 18th birthday Friday night as the Crusaders squared off against host Hall.
Fittingly enough, the senior standout was the man for Marquette when it mattered most.
With the game tied in the final minute, Johnson ran through a double screen and connected on a 17-foot go-ahead jump shot from the top of the key to help Marquette hold off the late-charging Red Devils for a 65-62 win in Tri-County Conference action at Red Devil Gymnasium in Spring Valley.
“It was exciting. That was the play we had called and the rest of the guys did their job — the pick, the pass. I had the easy part,” said Johnson, who led Marquette with 24 points.
Hall — which saw senior guard Brett Fanning break the 1,000-career point barrier in the third quarter en route to a game-high 26-point performance — trailed 53-47 entering the fourth quarter but managed to knot things up in the final two minutes of action thanks to some sharpshooting from junior Ian Trevier.
Trevier connected on a 3-pointer from the right side to pull Hall within two at 61-59 with 1:52 to play.
Marquette responded with 1-of-2 free throws from post Mitch Endres to push the lead back to three, but Trevier again dialed in a shot from behind the arc — this time from deep in the left corner — to knot the game at 62-62 with 1:15 to play.
Hall had a chance to tie after Johnson’s jumper as Fanning drove hard to the lane and drew contact, but the senior guard did not draw a foul whistle and his shot rattled off the rim.
Marquette’s Austin McDonnell made 1-of-2 free throws on the other end to bring the lead back up to three, and a desperation 3-pointer from Hall’s Miguel Villarreal on the left side after a Red Devil timeout came up short as the buzzer sounder.
“We kept our composure out there. Hall played a nice game tonight. They really knocked down some nice 3s off dribble penetration — something we tried to disallow, but they really came back on us,” Marquette coach Mike McDonald said. “But our kids kept our composure and we got a good shot there at the end for Curtiss on his birthday. It worked out well for us tonight.
“Anytime you go in the conference and get a big win on the road it’s a great night. It was a great team effort out there for us.”
Johnson finished with a game-high eight rebounds to go with his team-best 24 points. Elliot Kowalski added 14 points for the Cru while Michael Sypniewki joined him in double-digit scoring with 11 tallies and added seven rebounds.
For Hall (5-13, 3-3), Trevier finished with 11 points and Villareal chipped in 10 to go along with Fanning’s game-high 26. Austin Schmitt grabbed a team-best eight rebounds.
“We keep saying that it stinks that we play in these close games and can’t find a way to close it out. It’s a broken record — our kids give great effort and are playing together. But when we need to get a stop, we can’t get a stop. When we need to get that one rebound, we can’t the one rebound. … That’s why you’re 5-13,” Hall coach Mike Filippini said. “I give our kids credit — one thing we don’t do is quit. If they would have quit we would have got beat by 20. They kept playing — fighting — literally right down to the last possession.”
Notes: Fanning became the first Red Devil since Hall Hall of Famer and all-time scoring leader Shawn Jeppson (1,829 career points) to reach the 1,000-point plateau with a basket on the right block with 1:46 left in the third quarter that gave him 1,001 for his 2 ½-year career. The bucket elicited a hearty reaction from the Red Devil faithful in attendance as the student section waved signs congratulating him on his achievement, and the senior standout earned a standing ovation from the crowd when his career feat was announced by his father Todd — the voice of the Red Devils — over the Red Devil Gymnasium public address system. Fanning finished 9-of-22 from the field and 7-of-10 from the foul stripe to earn his 26 tallies. “It’s not any secret that Brett is the leading scorer on our team — everybody knows it. To put up the numbers that he’s still putting up is a great accomplishment for Brett. That was probably the best offensive game I thought he’s played all year,” Filippini said. “It’s a great accomplishment for a scorer. It’s not easy to do what he did, score 1,000. That’s the first boy I’ve ever coached to score 1,000 points.” … Marquette won the sophomore contest 50-43.
Chris Yucus can be reached at 220-6995, or at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @NT_SportsChris.
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