GALION — Marion Harding picked up a season sweep of Galion in Mid Ohio Athletic Conference play on Thursday when the Presidents defeated the Tigers by a score of 75-53.
“We never quit, we don’t have a quit in us. They’re willing to go from tip to final buzzer,” Galion head coach Ryan Stover said. “For them winning no games last year to winning two and being competitive is a big step.”
Harding was led by Riley Keeran who scored 24 points. Marquis Long and Wesley Stokes added 14 points apiece for the Presidents.
Galion was paced by senior Rece Payne and his 20 points on the evening. He connected on five three-point field goals.
“His shot kind of wasn’t there in the first half (of the season). But, over the last two or three games he’s finally figured it out. He’s gotten comfortable and he’s having a little fun,” Stover said of Payne.
Sophomore Cooper Kent added 10 points. Seniors Hudson Miller and Garrett Ison each scored six points for the Tigers. Kent and Miller each knocked down two three-point field goals.
Sophomore Steven Glew added four points for Galion. Senior Jaxon Oswald scored three points and sophomores Coen Fuson and Carson Frankhouse chipped in two points apiece for the Tigers.
The Presidents and Tigers clashed in an energetic first quarter, which ended with Harding leading Galion 20-15. Early on Payne did the heavy lifting for the Tigers, nailing three triples early in the first eight minutes. Keeran scored 11 first-quarter points for Harding, blazing from the start.
This game slowed down a bit in the second quarter. At intermission Harding led Galion 34-25. Harding would score seven field goals in the second quarter, compared to four for the home Tigers.
“We lost by 40-50 the first time. For us to be in the game as long as we were. It shows our growth,” Stover explained.
Harding defeated Galion 67-29 back on Dec. 3 in Marion.
Harding gained a comfortable lead in the third quarter by outscoring Galion 23-11. A pair of Hudson Miller three-pointers limited the damage done.
The last quarter comeback wasn’t possible for Galion as Harding would hold firm with their lead.
“I think we played pretty solid defense, better than in the past,” Stover said. “The reason I think they got to 75 is because we had some careless passes and lazy passes. They’re long and athletic, it went the other way.”
Marion Harding (8-5, 7-1 MOAC) will travel to Shelby on Saturday in what will be a battle of first-place teams in the MOAC. The Whippets (11-3, 7-1 MOAC) rolled over Pleasant 67-51 on Thursday.
Galion (2-10, 1-7 MOAC) will look for a season sweep of Clear Fork on Saturday. The Tigers defeated the Colts 55-46 on Dec. 9 in Galion.