CUMBERLAND — Hunter Marrale opened the City League basketball season with a bang, and his Bishop Walsh teammates weren’t too shabby, either.
Marrale hit 11 of 15 shots in a 30-point night and Liam Rhodes had a big all-around game with 24 points, six assists and five steals as the top-ranked Spartans routed fifth-ranked Fort Hill 77-48 Friday evening.
Quincy Redmon added 12 points and seven rebounds and Brandon Reed grabbed nine rebounds for Bishop Walsh, now 10-3 overall, 1-0 in the City and 5-0 in the Appalachian Mountain Athletic Conference.
Dalton Gaus had 17 points and Jarrett Wolfe 16 and nine rebounds for defending City champion Fort Hill (3-5, 0-1, 2-2), which has dropped three of its last four.
Bishop Walsh, which never trailed, put the City opener away early. After Fort Hill got to within 9-6 midway through the first quarter the Spartans ended the period on a 9-0 run, and with Rhodes and Marrale teaming for 18 second-quarter points, enjoyed a 40-19 lead at the half.
Marrale, who had 15 points in each half, was 5 of 7 from the three-point line. He was 3 for 3 from long range in the third quarter, each shot seemingly coming a little farther from the basket than the previous one. He also had five rebounds.
“He can shoot the lights out,” Bishop Walsh head coach Bob Boyle said. “But he had been struggling with his shot for awhile. We all needed to work on our shooting, and after the (Wednesday’s) game with Frankfort we spent over an hour just shooting in practice.”
Unfortunately for Fort Hill, it paid off. The Spartans shot 17 for 31 over the middle two quarters and led 61-31 heading into the fourth.
“We’re trying hard to compete, and the guys are playing hard but we’re just not getting the results that we need,’’ said Fort Hill coach Thad Burner. “We’re inconsistent right now. We turn the ball over at times, and when we do get the shots we want a lot of times we miss them.
“We just have to continue to work on fundamentals, keep our spirits up and work through things,’’ Burner added, referring to several games that have gotten out of hand on the scoreboard.
Rhodes was 8 of 13 from the field. He and Marrale combined for 32 of BW’s 40 points in the first half.
“Liam ran the offense very well, and he plays offense and defense at full speed all the time,’’ Boyle said. “We need Liam and Hunter to help us force the tempo we want, and both can certainly nail the three-pointer. They have the green light as long as we have a rebounder under the basket.”
Fort Hill won the jayvee game 40-34. Ty Mance had nine points and Jacob Painter eight for the Sentinels. Isaiah Fraser had nine and Darius Berry eight for the Spartans.
Bishop plays again tonight at Bishop McCort in Johnstown, Pa., at 7:30. Fort Hill travels to Northern on Monday.
Mike Mathews is a Cumberland Times-News sportswriter. Write to him at firstname.lastname@example.org.