EagleHerald/Troy A. Bruzewski
Marinette's Jeremy Wendt holds the position to deny Fox Valley Lutheran’s Ryan Blobe (33) a late basket in Marinette’s win on Tuesday.
EagleHerald/Troy A. Bruzewski
Marinette's Jeremy Wendt holds the position to deny Fox Valley Lutheran’s Ryan Blobe (33) a late basket in Marinette’s win on Tuesday.
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MARINETTE — The final score was favorable, but closer than some would have preferred.

In the closing minutes of Tuesday’s home game against Fox Valley Lutheran, the Marinette boys basketball team held a nine-point lead and had possession of the ball, trying to secure the victory. Instead, the Marines watched their lead evaporate and they needed some last-minute scoring to reclaim the win.

Fortunately for Marinette, those points arrived at the free throw line, as did a few key stops.

The Marines broke a 66-66 tie with a minute remaining and outscored the Foxes 7-2 in over those 60 seconds to earn the 73-68 win.

“The guys stayed pretty calm through that period,” Marinette coach Matt Joost said. “I was pretty calm too, until the game got tied. Then, I got a bit worried.”

Until the final minute, Joost and the Marines had little to worry about.

Marinette had its inside-out offense working, with Jake Poetzl providing the inside scoring while a host of Marines contributed to the outside game. Matt Wagner led the way for the perimeter shooters, scoring 12 first-half points including a trio of 3-pointers. Trey Bretl and Tyler Fayta added 3-pointers; even Poetzl sank one long-distance attempt for three of his 12 first-half points.

Fox Valley Lutheran also had some success from behind the arc, making four 3-pointers to stay within range of Marinette on the scoreboard. The Marines entered halftime with a 36-28 lead, but both teams increased their scoring in the second half.

More scoring from Wagner and Poetzl helped the Marines add to their lead in the second half and hold a 64-55 lead with about six minutes remaining in regulation. That’s when Ryan Guenterberg and the Foxes made their run.

“There were definitely things we did wrong in the press break,” Joost said. “We just weren’t strong enough with the ball.”

The Foxes forced a couple Marinette turnovers and gradually shrank its lead. With under three minutes remaining, Guenterberg pulled Fox Valley Lutheran to within a basket (64-63) by sinking a 3-pointer from the right corner and harassed Marinette on the inbound pass, creating a few turnovers. The Foxes soon tied the score at 66-66 with less than 90 seconds on the clock.

However, a late stolen pass by Wagner and free throw conversions from him and Poetzl, secured the win for Marinette.

“When we got the lead back, we stayed ahead and we did a good job not to relinquish it,” Joost said. “(Fox Valley Lutheran) did a good job when they switched to their press; we need to be stronger with the ball in those situations.”

Wagner finished with a game-high 25 points; Poetzl had 23 points; Fayta had 10 and Jeremy Wendt had eight. Marinette finished 16-for-21 at the line and had nine 3-pointers in the game.

Guenterberg led the Foxes with 17 points.

The Marines remain home to host Freedom on Friday.