By Ryan Kuhn
For the first time since 2009, Marshall High School lost in its opening game of the season.
The Phoenix never had a lead in a 59-40 non-league loss to visiting Castlemont of Oakland on Wednesday and the Knights finished with four players scoring 10 or more points.
It was Marshall’s (0-1) third loss to Castlemont (1-0) in the last four years, but the Phoenix mostly viewed the season-opener as a learning experience.
“Tonight, the score was not really a big thing for us,” said Marshall head coach Dezebee Miles. “We wanted to see what we were doing as far as executing our offense and playing more than one defense.”
Marshall fell behind 10-3 early in the first quarter after giving up four turnovers.
“We definitely have to be a lot stronger handling the ball,” Miles said. “That is what took us out of the game.”
After trailing by seven points at the end of the first quarter, Marshall kept itself close behind the play of senior guard John Sear, who hit three three-pointers in the second quarter. Riding Sear’s hot shooting, the Phoenix only trailed 26-21 at the half.
Sear is the leading scorer returning for Marshall and led all scorers with 22 points on Wedensday.
The Phoenix cut the Castlemont lead down to two points in the third quarter, but the Knights again extended their lead to 40-30 heading into the fourth quarter and closed the game out an another run.
“I don’t think we played the way we usually do,” said Marshall sophomore guard Preston Deming. “I felt like we could have come out a little harder. We really need to improve on our defense.”
Castemont shot 55 percent from the field and 66 percent in the fourth quarter.
Marshall has only three seniors on the roster and without standout forward Theoatis Hill, Miles said the Phoenix will have to look for other avenues of scoring.
Marshall will play its next game on Saturday against University. Last year the Red Devils defeated the Phoenix 97-75.