The Blue Devils beat Region 4AAAAAA rival Harrison 69-57 on “Throw-Back Night” at the old Marietta Garden, marking the first varsity basketball game played at the old gym since the high school was relocated away from the Winn Street campus in 2001.
Dale Ellis, a Marietta Hall of Famer and former NBA star, served as the Blue Devils’ honorary captain, and former coach Charlie Hood joined members of his 1983 state championship team on the floor at halftime.
“After spending 32 years coaching here, being in this gym brings back a lot of memories,” Hood said. “I was tickled to death when (current Marietta coach Matt Lyons) came to me about this idea. Seeing so many of my players and friends here (Friday) has been a great experience.”
Ellis said he had a great time being on the bench as honorary captain.
“It was a lot of fun,” he said. “I know some of these guys after playing basketball with them over the summer. I had butterflies walking back into this gym. I felt like I should suit up, but then I realized I didn’t have to. But the same feelings came back.”
Life basketball coach John Barrett was one of Hood’s assistant coaches for three years, including the 1983 championship team.
“To be back in this gym is one of the biggest thrills of my life,” Barrett said. “There’s no way I could have been a college coach without Charlie Hood in my corner.”
Fans in attendance not only got a chance to look back at Marietta history, they also saw a glimpse of the present and future as three current Blue Devil players scored in double figures to lead Marietta (8-1, 5-1) to its sixth straight victory.
Raynere Thornton totaled 22 points, 14 rebounds, three assists and two steals, while D.J. Bostick added 10 points, eight rebounds and two assists. Cameron Jordan had 16 points, three rebounds, four steals and three assists, and Tyrell Tomlin contributed nine points and eight rebounds.
Marietta led 12-10 at the end of the first quarter and 25-20 at halftime. The Blue Devils’ margin grew to eight points on two occasions in the third, but Harrison (4-6, 3-2) scored seven straight points in the final 2 minutes and pulled within 42-41 in the final seconds of the period.
But before the buzzer sounded, Thornton threw an inbound pass from the far baseline to his brother, Rayveon, who turned and fired a 3-pointer to put Marietta in front 45-41 entering the fourth quarter.
“That helped us,” Lyons said. “Making that shot at the buzzer, when we didn’t expect to, gave our guys a boost. We played zone in the final quarter, and that took (Harrison) away from what they wanted to do, and we pulled away.”
Rayveon Thornton’s 3 sparked a 13-2 run for Marietta, which led 55-43 with 5:29 remaining in the game.
Ethan Weathers’ 3-pointer left Harrison trailing 62-54 with 1:59 on the clock, but the Blue Devils closed the game on a 7-3 run for the final margin.
Justice Morgan led Harrison with 23 points, also adding three assists and three steals. Devantre Young contributed eight points, 12 rebounds and four steals, while Weathers totaled 10 points.
Jack Forrest collected eight rebounds, three assists and two steals. Nick Hughes had eight points and six rebounds.
Harrison 50, Marietta 46 (OT): Sydne Wiggins scored six of her team’s eight points in overtime and led the Lady Hoyas to the Region 4AAAAAA victory.
Wiggins scored 11 of her 21 points in the first quarter as Harrison (8-2, 3-2) outscored Marietta 15-2.
But the Lady Blue Devils battled only back in the second and trailed 19-16 at halftime.
Marietta pulled even at 33-all at the end of the third and held a 42-40 lead with 30 seconds left in the game after Jacky Jones sank one of her two free throws.
After Harrison’s Kaylyn Brooks was fouled with roughly 6 seconds remaining, she made both free throws to tie the game, and Marietta couldn’t get a shot off before the clock expired to end regulation.
Zoe Guilmette finished with 12 points, nine rebounds and five blocks for Harrison, while Tobi Woghiren added nine points and six rebounds. Bailey Cross had nine rebounds and five steals.
Jones finished with 14 points for Marietta. Sydney Mathis had seven, while Asia Vetter and Asia Blue Wilson each had six.