Marauders poised to turn the corner

Marauder Tyler Wennet (54) scored 25 points vs. Winslow

That resolve hasn’t quite translated into victories yet, but the Marauders are showing signs of turning the corner, Woods said.

They gave an inspired effort in a 74-72 defeat to Winslow in Thursday’s opening round of the Flagstaff Pepsi Invitational. They rallied in the fourth quarter to make things interesting with host Flagstaff during Friday’s action before falling 47-38.

"It has taken us awhile to put it together," Woods said. "(Winslow) was our most complete game this season. We lose by 2 points and were one rebound away or one guy not committing a foul away. That’s how close we are to being a better team and winning some of these close games."

The return of Dmitri Zagar to the lineup after a five-game absence definitely adds another key piece back to the puzzle. Zagar, a sophomore, had a stellar debut against Cactus Shadows but then suffered an ankle injury. He scored 9 points vs. Winslow.

"With him in the lineup we started getting better shots," Woods said. "He steadied us. He makes good decisions and gives us another ball-handler in the game."

Adam Beck also became available this week and gives even more depth to the backcourt, Woods said. He’s also a trusty ball-handler.

Tyler Wennet has been the Marauders’ big gun all season and was so again in both the Winslow and Flagstaff games.

He scored 25 points against Winslow, prompting Bulldogs coach Charles Gover to tell the Arizona Daily Sun "he owned our post guys." Wennet scored 13 to lead Mingus against Flag.

"Wennet is playing awesome. He is keeping us in these games," Woods said. "If a few other guys pitch in, we can get over the hump."

Guys like Stephen Cook. The senior had one of his best games against Winslow, pitching in 13 points and eight rebounds.

Mingus looked ready to run the Bulldogs out of the building in the first half, racing to a 39-28 lead. But Winslow rallied before the break behind the play of Shawn Begay to make it 39-37.

The Marauders held a narrow lead through much of the second half, but Winslow slipped ahead in the final minutes. Woods said his young troops are still learning how to protect leads.

"On our last nine possessions, we had two turnovers and took five 3s," Woods said. "We got away from what we had been doing."

After scoring only 12 points in the first half, Mingus picked up the pace against Flagstaff. The Marauders played one more game at the Pepsi Invitational on Saturday, but results were not known at press time.

Mingus will take a break from games until after Christmas. The Marauders will once again return to the Santa Cruz Shootout in Tucson from Dec. 26-30 and then will drive to the opposite end of the state Jan. 3 for their region opener against Chinle.

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