The Marionville Comets treated the home crowd to a thrilling victory to begin the season in the Marionville Invitational on Tuesday, defeating sixth-seeded Buffalo 49-46 in the opening round.
Coach Ted Young's team fell behind early, as Buffalo scored the first five points of the game before a bucket by senior Ryan Mayberry put the home team on the board. The Comets struggled to find the rhythm on offense and got themselves into foul trouble in the first quarter, at the end of which they trailed 16-13.
A minute into the second period, the Bison had the double bonus advantage as Marionville continued to rack up the fouls, but the Comets stuck around and took a 17-16 lead with 4:25 left in the half. The teams traded buckets for the lead for the next few minutes, and Marionville eventually took a 22-21 lead into the intermission.
The third quarter was even tighter than the first two, as the period ended with the teams knotted at 33-33.
An early layup by junior Gavin Stanton gave Marionville the lead in the fourth, but Buffalo would reclaim the advantage after a pair of free throws tied it and a Marionville turnover led to a layup.
Trailing 40-37 with 3:51 to play, Young called a timeout which would prove effective, as the Comets again rallied to take the lead on a pair of Mayberry free throws with two minutes remaining.
But Buffalo would again take the lead on a three-pointer 15 seconds later. Fortunately for Marionville, the Bison missed an opportunity at the free throw line with 1:04 on the clock, missing all three shots after Mayberry's fifth foul. After being fouled on the next play, junior Laythen Utke converted half of a one-and-one to make it 44-44.
Some key defensive plays by Marionville, including multiple blocked shots, kept the Comets in the game, and with less than 10 seconds remaining the home team got the play it needed. A steal by junior Evan Dotson led to a Josh Goodman layup, as the junior gave Marionville the two-point lead, 48-46.
Buffalo called a timeout to set up its offense against the Comets' full-court press, but the Bison point guard committed a backcourt violation to give Marionville the ball back again with about six seconds to go.
A free throw by Stanton gave the Comets a three point lead in the final four seconds, and Buffalo's final desperate attempt was off the mark, giving the Comets the win.
The victory gives the Comets a 1-1 record on the young season after falling at Pierce City 47-42.
Goodman's 10 points led the Marionville offense, while three Comets -- Mayberry, Utke and Stanton -- finished with nine points apiece. Dotson and junior Wesley Breedlove added four each, while junior Dominick Clevenger and sophomore Matthew Goodman each contributed two.
After Thursday's semifinal, the Comets will play Saturday, either in the championship game at 4:30 p.m. or the third place contest at 3 p.m.