Pictured: Morgan’s Rob Zirlis has a step on Valley’s James Marsden for two of his 17 points in Saturday’s Shoreline win over the Warriors.

CLINTON – The spark came from senior center Rob Zirlis, who got the ball in the post, peeled off his Valley Regional defender with a drop step and threw down an uncontested dunk for Morgan’s first bucket Saturday.

It tied the game at 2 and didn’t seem like a big deal at the time, but the Huskies thought otherwise.

“Rob’s dunk put in perspective how we wanted to set the tone,” junior guard Drew Nye said. “Our energy was great. After that, we took off.”

With Valley paying particular attention to the 6-foot-6 Zirlis in the middle, the Huskies had space on the perimeter to fire away and unleashed a 3-point attack that produced six treys in the first quarter alone and 12 in all in their 85-53 Shoreline Conference rout of the Warriors.

Morgan’s offensive versatility – in the middle, on the perimeter and in transition — was on full display as the conference favorite raised its record to 4-0.

Senior Jason Cohen, who finished with 18 points, drilled three 3-pointers in the opening eight minutes as Morgan blew out to leads of 13-4 and 22-10. Nye swished two and senior Zach Johnson one. Johnson scored a game-high 19 points and Zirlis had 17 as Morgan dealt Valley its first defeat in four games.

“I felt like I got a fair share of touches, but we were lights out from three,” said Zirlis. “I felt that’s because they collapsed on me. We have shooters on the floor and off the bench. With our starting five, anyone can hit a three and anyone off our bench can hit a three.”

Saagar Patel led Valley with 14 points and James Marsden finished with 11. Sophomore Jeremy Arnum, their top scorer and defender, missed the final 22 minutes after injuring his right wrist – a loss that this young but fierce Valley team, which graduated nine seniors last season, could not overcome.

More to come …

Jeremy Arnum 4 0-0 8, Simon Partyka 0 3-4 3, James Marsden 4 0-0 11, Saagar Patel 5 4-6 14, Marcus SantaMaria 1 5-6 7, Keenan Pindar 0 0-0 0, Kyle Montecalvo 1 0-0 3, Brayden Shea 1 0-0 2, Cameron Ruel 1 0-0 3, Tommy Burch 1 0-0 2. Totals: 17 12-16 53.

MORGAN (4-0)
Zach Johnson 8 1-2 19, Drew Nye 3 0-0 8, Rob Zirlis 6 5-6 17, Jason Cohen 7 0-0 18, Alex Fratamico 2 2-3 7, Connor Duffy 2 0-0 4, Mason Smith 1 0-0 3, Gavin Krott 1 0-0 3, Josh Bardinelli 1 0-0 2, Cooper Galdenzi 1 1-2 4. Totals: 32 9-13 85.

Score By Quarters
V 10 18 13 12—53
M 22 18 18 27—85

3-Pointers: VR—Marsden 3, Montecalvo, Ruel. M—Cohen 4, Johnson 2, Nye 2, Fratamico, Smith, Krott, Galdenzi.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *