NASHVILLE – Marquette Catholic's Jake Hall was a big reason why the Explorers head into – for them – uncharted territory.
Hall's 14 points helped give Marquette a 43-29 win over Trenton Wesclin in Wednesday night's IHSA Class 2A Nashville Sectional semifinal game to send the Explorers to Friday's sectional final against the host Hornets. After a win Friday night over Nashville, the Explorers head to Tuesday's Carbondale Super-Sectional.
“We came out with intensity Thursday,” Hall said. “Playing Nashville on Friday, there was a lot of atmosphere. We were ready to come out and play.”
The Explorers have already recorded a big win in the postseason, eliminating Waterloo Gibault in the Gibault Regional in overtime at Gibault's gym; now Marquette eliminated Nashville in their gym. “It was an unbelievable win,” Hall said of the win in Waterloo. “Playing at Gibault, that place was unbelievable. We're kind of used to it now, playing a home team on their home court, so we had to come out with intensity.”
Marquette hit a stretch late in the first half against Trenton Wesclin where some Warrior turnovers led to key baskets that swung the momentum Marquette's way.
“Our coaches stress defense every day in practice,” Hall said. “We've got to get better and better and it's paying off.
“We just defended really well; we try to get a lot of our points off transition. We practice that all week and it paid off.”
For the Explorers to reach the the super-sectional is a huge accomplishment, but Hall realizes it won't be an easy assignment.
“We're going to come in with intensity and give everything and leave it all on the floor," he said, which appears to be his motto.