(Yoakum) – The Marion boys basketball team hopes a stellar regular season and dominant run through district play translates to a deep run through the UIL playoffs, and the Bulldogs begin that journey tonight in the Class-3A bi-district bracket against Vanderbilt-Industrial in Yoakum.
Marion is 26-6 overall in Jon Allen’s 11th season as head coach. The Bulldogs ride a 16-game winning streak into the playoffs after notching a perfect 14-0 district record en route to the 27-3A championship.
Allen’s bunch faces a familiar foe tonight. Marion eliminated Industrial 45-35 in the first round last year after falling to the Cobras 48-42 in 2016. Both of those games were played at Moulton High School, so Yoakum’s facility offers a new venue for what has become an annual playoff rivalry between the programs.
Industrial, led by veteran head coach Rusty Roe, went 19-14 during the regular season and finished fourth in District 28 with a 4-6 league mark, behind Edna, Van Vleck, and Palacios.
The Cobras have played at a more deliberate pace than Marion this season, averaging 46.9 points per game to the Bulldogs’ 55.5.
"Their big thing on offense, they're very patient," Allen said of Industrial. "They run their offense to a tee. They'll run it over and over again until they find an opening. They kind of want to break you down on defense and make you make mistakes, so just taking them out of their comfort zone and not allowing them to run their offense is going to be a big key for us."
Marion’s attack is built around the junior frontcourt duo of 6’4” Jacob Wallace and 6’5” Jackson Allen, both of whom can play inside or on the perimeter, depending on the matchups. Allan has averaged a team-high 13.7 points per game, and Wallace has produced at a 12.6 clip while pulling down a team-best 8.3 rebounds per game.
Creet Rabenaldt has provided a steady hand at point guard while averaging 9.0 points per contest. Rabenaldt (.343), Allen (.396), and Brevin Wilson (.383) give the Bulldogs solid three-point shooting to match their inside arsenal.
Tonight’s game will air live on KWED 1580 AM and Seguintoday.com. The opening tip in Yoakum is slated for 8 p.m., with pre-game coverage at 7:45.