December 2, 2021

Groton girls fall at home to Marathon

Katie Vartanian/contributing photographer

Marathon’s Madison Clark (10) battles Groton’s Brooke Brecht (12) and Morgan Gunn (25) for a rebound during Thursday’s IAC game at Richard Court Gymnasium in Groton. Marathon won, 66-42.

GROTON – It was a chilly December Thursday night that saw the Groton Indians (0-1) drop their season and home opener to the Marathon Olympians (1-1) by the final score of 66-42 in Interscholastic Athletic Conference North Small School Division action.

Both teams started out cold from the field with the first point not coming until the Olympians’ Abby Ensign hit a free throw with 6:16 left in the first quarter. Groton’s Brooke Brecht got the scoring started for the Indians with a free throw of her own 20 seconds later.

The division rivals would then trade the lead various times over the next two minutes, but a 10-3 run over the last four minutes of the opening quarter would help the Olympians take a six-point advantage into the second quarter at 13-7. The visitor’s run was sparked by four straight free throws by Brooke Tillotson.

“There’s not enough you can say about her,” Marathon head coach Andrew Pierce said in reference to his star point guard. “She’s that constant motor, has that constant energy, and is always leading.”

Tillotson was quiet by her standards in the Olympians’ season-opening loss on the road to MAC foe Delhi, managing only 11 points. That wasn’t going to be the case against Groton.

Groton would show some fight in the second quarter led by Emma DeMatteo. The Indians’ guard stroked three 3-pointers in four possessions to keep the hosts close. Groton would pull within one at half in part to Elisa Allen’s personal 5-0 run to end the quarter, including a basket while being fouled and the free throw with just under a minute left. The 26-25 halftime de cit would be the closest the Indians got for the rest of the game.

Marathon began the second half on a 10-0 run led again by Ensign and Tillotson, who combined for 11 of the Olympians’ 21 third quarter points.

“Abby stepped into the starting lineup after one of our starting guards went down at Delhi,” Pierce said. “She stepped up huge for us tonight.”

The Olympians were without senior guard Molly Merihew who was that injured player for their first IAC action of the season.

Groton scored only eight points in the third quarter behind two long balls from Jordyn Ban-eld and a runner in the lane by Abby Dykeman.

“We just didn’t execute a few times in a row,” Groton head coach Dick Brecht said after the game. “It cost us.”

Katie Vartanian/contributing photographer

Marathon’s Brooke Tillotson (22) tries a lay-up while Groton’s Emma DeMatteo (2) applies pressure in Thursday’s game. Tillotson ended up with 28 points.

In the final quarter of the night, the visitors put Groton away. Marathon opened the final act with a 9-2 run over the first three minutes. Tillotson would score 12 of her 28 points in final eight minutes as the Olympians’ lead would balloon to 24 points, matching the final outcome.

“Tillotson is tough to guard,” Coach Brecht said after the game. “If you don’t play good team defense, she’ll tear you apart.”

The Indians struggled at the line, shooting 10 of 25 over-all from the charity stripe. The Olympians converted on 16 of 23 free throws.

Marathon’s Tillotson was 10 of 11 from the line herself, as she led the Olympians with 28 points on the night. Ensign had a career-high 18 points in her first start of the season.

“We really wanted to come in and get this league win tonight,” Pierce said. “We’re really eager to see how we continue to stack up against the league.”

DeMatteo was the only Indian to break double-digits with 11 points on the night. Banfield followed closely behind with eight points. Brooke Brecht had a quiet night, netting four points for the home team. The Indians hit eight 3-pointers in the contest compared to just two for the Olympians.

“We’re going to take from tonight and learn and get better,” Coach Brecht said. “It was our first game, so we learn from it and have to play better our next time out.”

Marathon is back in action Wednesday when they travel to Union Springs to take on the Wolves in an IAC North Small matchup. Groton returns to the court Tuesday as the Indians hit the road to take on the Lansing Bobcats.