Marion, AL. - The Marion Military Institute Tigers hosted Wallace Community College Monday evening in an ACCC North/South match-up. The Tigers escaped with a double overtime win, 99-93, to improve their record to 2-0.
Marion got on the scoreboard first after sophomore Connor Zinaich recorded an old fashioned three-point play. Victor Gray followed with a two-point basket and the home squad built an early lead. The Patriots of WCC would keep the game close throughout the half with aggressive inside play. With under four minutes remaining in the first half sophomore Antony Edwards scored off a pass from Gray and extended the lead to nine, 33-24. The two teams would trade baskets back and forth during the final minutes of the first period. MMI Tigers took a 43-36 lead into halftime.
The second half saw the Patriots put together several runs to keep the game within their reach. They took their first lead (73-75) at the 3:30 mark after connecting on back-to-back baskets. The visitors kept that lead until Edwards drained two free throws with 1:38 left in regulation to tie the game. Wallace regained a two-point advantage on the next possession. Carlos Bell hit one of two from the charity stripe for Marion to cut the lead to one. On a Selma miss, Nathan Boyd was fouled on the rebound and hit one of two free throws to create a 77-77 tie with 18.6 seconds on the clock. Wallace's attempt missed and the game went into the first overtime period.
WCC quickly took a four-point lead in the first extra period. Bell scored on a layup for the Tigers and then finished with his FT attempt to keep Marion within reach. Both teams traded baskets and it looked as if the visitors from Selma would secure the win. Bell was fouled driving to the basket with 49.7 seconds left and with his two free throws brought the Tigers within two points. Zinaich secured a defensive rebound and found Bell to tie the game at 89 apiece with just seconds remaining. Bell blocked a WCC shot attempt and sent the game into its second overtime.
As in the first overtime session, WCC took the early lead after they connected on two free throws in their first possession. Zinaich answered with two points and followed that up with another big defensive rebound. Bell drove the lane and scored two to give the lead back to Marion, 93-91. Wallace returned the favor on the next possession to tie the game once again. Freshman Joshua Rathell was fouled as Marion's shot clock was winding down and hit one of two from the charity stripe. He followed that up with a strong defensive rebound to give Marion the ball....and the lead. Zinaich scored a basket off an offensive rebound to give the Tigers a 96-93 lead under a minute to play. Zinaich snatched another rebound on the defensive end and a WCC foul put Bell at the free throw line again. He connected on one of two to extend the Tiger's lead to four points. Zinaich's rebound during the next possession, his 16th of the game, put the Patriots' hopes away. He added two more free throws to secure the victory for Marion.
Zinaich led Marion with 24 points. Edwards scored 19, Bell added 16 and Mikel Davis finished with 13 points. Rounding out the scoring for Marion were: Joshua Rathell (8), Nathan Boted (7), Joshua Jones (6), Victor Gray (4), and Willie Dunbar III (2).