The Mission Bears defeated the Marshall Phoenix Wednesday night in game one of AAA league play, in a very similar fashion to their games of the previous season. The aggressive full-court Mission defense forced 34 Marshall turnovers and ultimately wore down the Phoenix’s roster of seven deep in an 85-66 blowout contest.

Due to many technical difficulties, the squads were forced to play under adverse conditions that included replacement shot-clocks (the usual ones were damaged) and a young and inexperienced managing staff, as many scoreboard and book errors had to be dealt with throughout the game.

The game’s opening segment was a clash of each team’s strengths — Mission’s suffocating press against Thurgood Marshall’s inside game. Throughout the first half, the teams attacked and traded buckets with neither really gaining the upper hand. Mission was ahead 40-36 entering the half, but they weren’t satisfied with such a slight lead.

In the third frame the Bears pushed up the intensity on the defensive end, forcing 11 turnovers and allowing only 11 points to be scored. Impact player Demetrius Thibeaux played a significant role, coming off the bench to record three takeaways in the quarter alone.

We just had energy,” said the junior guard as he prepared to leave Marshall’s gym. “I was able to pick up the pace, and we were able to get the steals needed to win the game.”

Leading the offensive charge of 45 team points in the second half was Shaquille Fisher, who finished the game with the team high of 23 points.

We kept running and we kept coming. Running, running, and running, like coach [Arnold Zelaya] said,” the senior exclaimed after the teams exchanged handshakes.

Other solid performances were turned in by Kevin Murray, who scored 15 points; Antoine Porter, the quarterback with a team high of eight assists; Gione Edwards, with a double-double of 14 points and 10 rebounds in addition to five assists; and Miles Prescott, who had a monster game, scoring 21 points and inhaling 11 rebounds.

This win puts Mission’s record at 8-7 overall and 1-0 for league play.

The Bears will play their first home game of the season on Friday, January 6, against the Lincoln Mustangs.

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