Every time the Moline Maroons thought they were in control, the Ottawa Pirates had an answer. In a back-and-forth nonconference game at Wharton Field House on Saturday night, the Maroons finally had an answer to hold off Ottawa, 72-63.
Leading by three points and watching Ottawa sophomore star Myles Tucker line up a potential game-tying 3-pointer, the Maroons dodged the bullet when the shot bounced off the rim. Then, Moline's Brody Harding and Deonte Billups combined for three great possessions that led to six quick points.
First, Harding hit Billups with a pass that led to a layup. Then, Billups returned the favor with a pass to Harding for a bucket. Finally, Harding snatched his fourth steal of the night, got fouled on the layup and made both free throws to put Moline back up by nine.
"They really played great and just would never let us get away from them," said Harding, who finished with a career-high 22 points, and five assists. "They made tough shots and they kept getting some runs. It was a fun game to play.
"Those three possessions were huge but I thought everyone on our team stepped up and made a big play at some point down the stretch."
That is what Moline coach Sean Taylor liked most about his team's effort. The Maroons (15-4) were not perfect, but they were at their best when they needed to be.
Early in the game, it appeared Moline was going to have an easy night. The Maroons were red hot from beyond the 3-point arc (8-of-13 in the opening half) and built a 34-21 lead in the second quarter. However, Ottawa (8-6) finished the half with a 10-3 run and started the second half to take a three-point lead in the opening minutes.
The Maroons' depth was huge. Billups had nine of his 11 points early in the game, and Jeff McInnis scored eight of his 10 in the third quarter.
"I thought Deonte was going to have one of those special nights the way he started," Taylor said. "Then, Jeff is one of those guys who likes to play in tough spots. He really was big for us in the second half when we were struggling. He got to the basket and finished."
Drew Wiemers was consistent throughout with 17 points and six rebounds.
Tucker led Ottawa with 22 points, five assists and five steals.
North Scott 56, Wisconsin Dells 48: Class 4A eighth-ranked North Scott outscored previously unbeaten Wisconsin Dells 35-18 in the second half to pick up its 10th consecutive win.
Minnesota State recruit Corvon Seales led the Lancers (10-1) with a season-high 23 points, and his brother, Cortaviaus, had 13. North Scott trailed by 11 points in the opening half after surrendering a 19-2 run.
Muscatine 76, Iowa City High 57: Joe Wieskamp scored 35 of his 38 points in the final three quarters as Muscatine ended the first half on a 22-5 surge to seize control in a non-conference game at the U.S. Cellular Center in Cedar Rapids. The game was part of the inaugural Wells Fargo Shootout.
Wieskamp was 13 of 18 from the field and 8 of 9 at the foul line along with 15 rebounds for the Muskies, who snapped a three-game losing streak. Bryce Howard chipped in 15 points and Josh Hutton distributed 11 assists for Muscatine (7-5).
— Staff report