Hobbs gives Pats a spark
By Chuck Livingston Sports Editor
MARION — Marion got a big lift from an unlikely source in last night’s 58-49 win against Mountain Home at Patriot Arena. Senior Elisha Hobbs, a six-foot 152-pound guard, entered the contest for the first time in the game’s third quarter and scored 10 of his 11 points for the game in that frame, helping his Patriots go from a 27-27 tie just after halftime, to a 47-33 advantage entering the fourth. “They had not seen him play yet, and I’m not sure if they knew if he could play,” Marion head coach Irving Clay said of his No. 33’s big game. “Coach (Dakota Weatherley) and I knew that Hobbs could get to the basket, that’s his game, and that’s what we needed.” Marion hit nine of their 13 field goals in that stanza, while also forcing five Mountain Home turnovers, helping to turn the tide to the home team. “They came out in the third quarter and it looked like said they were going to go to the rim with it and we didn’t defend like we have been and certainly not how we’re capable of defending,” said Mountain Home head coach Grant Greenhaw. “It seemed like a two or three minute period where they’d get past the first guy, second guy, sometimes even a third guy, and I thought that was the difference in the ballgame.” Mountain Home tied the game at 27-27 following a lay-up from Chase Ohler and 6:51 left in the third period. Hobbs would spark a 5-0 Marion run by hitting a free throw, followed by a lay-up before A.J. Latham rattled home a jumper for a 32-27 lead with 4:40 left in the third quarter, which forced a Mountain Home timeout. With 4:09 left, Hobbs would score on a runner in the lane while also drawing a foul, but he missed the free throw and Marion’s lead was 34-29. Marion would steal its biggest lead of the night to date with 2:06 left on a Hobbs three-pointer. The make was good for a 41-34 Patriot advantage. Hobbs would cap the scoring in the frame with a lay-up with 36.8 seconds left in the quarter for a 47-34 lead. “I think that’s what makes you a good team, when you get somebody to come off the bench and spark you like that,” Clay said of Hobbs. “When you have somebody that you can insert into the game, that may not play a lot, but understands what’s going on in the game and can give us that type of spark.” Mountain Home wasn’t done, however. The Bombers would trim the Marion lead to just seven points at 48-41 with 3:48 left in regulation following a three-pointer by Mitchell McDonald. However, Marion would secure a long rebound that would turn into a lay-up for Marlon Warren and use Mountain Home’s lone turnover of the quarter into a dunk by Mike Davis with 2:04 left that gave the Pats a 52-41 lead. From there, Latham would hit five of his six free throws and Hobbs would split a pair to give Marion enough cushion to clinch the win. For the game, the Bombers were seven of 23 from three-point range. “For us to be successful, on the road especially, we have to hit some outside shots, and we have to have multiple people do it,” Greenhaw explained. “We got some good looks tonight and we just didn’t knock down enough to get the job done on the road.” With the win, Marion clinched no worse than the No. 2 seed from the 6A-East in the Class 6A state tournament. The Pats could still force a tie with Jonesboro for the top spot from the conference, but it would require Marion to beat the Golden Hurricane by 10 points or more in Jonesboro next Friday night. Marion can not fall to the No. 3 spot from the East. If the Pats finish second, then they’ll play the No. 5 seed from the 6A-South, which is Lake Hamilton at this moment. If Marion finishes second, they would play on Wednesday, March 2 at 5:30 p.m. in Russellville. Mountain Home (6-19 overall, 2-9 7A/6A-East) got a double-double from Howie Wehmeyer, who hit for a game-high 23 points and 10 rebounds. Austin Jacobelli scored seven points and McDonald would score six. Marion (13-9 overall, 8-3 7A/6A-East) got 18 points and six rebounds from Shaun Doss, 12 from Latham and 11 from Hobbs. Treyvon Jackson handed out three assists.