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Matchup Nightmare: Redbank Valley Boys Basketball Team Sprints Past Plum

SARVER, Pa. (EYT/D9) — There isn’t a backcourt quite like the one the Redbank Valley boys basketball team possesses.

In Class 2A. Or even in Class 5A.

With 6-foot-5 Marquese Gardlock, 6-4 Chris Marshall and 6-4 Bryson Bain, the Bulldogs provide quite the conundrum for most teams.

Plum had few answers for them Tuesday night.

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Redbank Valley, Keystone, and Union/A-C Valley sports coverage on Explore and is brought to you by Heeter Lumber.

Marshall scored 24 points, Gardlock 18 and Bain, still trying to find his shot, scored five points, but had 13 rebounds, as Redbank Valley ran away from the Mustangs for a 63-43 win at the Freeport Christmas Tournament.

“You know, we’re a mismatch nightmare,” said Redbank coach Emmanuel Marshall. “Not many guards are 6-4, 6-5, you know? And I have three of them. Yeah, we’re pretty blessed.”

Chris Marshall was hot early, draining a pair of 3-pointers in the first quarter. He also got to the rim with relative ease on the way to his big night.

“He’s going to be a problem,” Coach Marshall said.

So are the Bulldogs, who are starting to round into basketball form after a late start because of football.

Gardlock was also adept at getting inside and scored 14 of his 18 points after the first quarter.

Redbank Valley led 12-2 out of the gate and ran that lead to 32-15 at the break.

But Plum, ice cold in the first two quarters, got red hot in the third.

The Mustangs, a Class 5A team from the WPIAL, trimmed the lead to 40-37 with 1:35 left in the third quarter.

But the explosive Bulldogs went on a prodigious run again, outscoring Plum 17-1 to put the game away.

“We’re a pretty dynamic team,” Bain said. “We can score 10 points in a matter of a minute, so there’s no panic. We can be up by three, or down by 10, and we know we’re going to be OK, that we have the ability to pull it out.”

Watching a lead evaporate like that would have spelled doom in the past for Redbank. Not so this year.

“It’s great to know that they’re resilient enough to get themselves out of that situation,” Coach Marshall said. “Years prior, we couldn’t do that. And then we would end up losing the game by six or eight or something like that. We weren’t able to have that answer. But now, this year, we’ve been coming up with the answer.”

On defense the answer has been twin guards Owen Clouse and Mason Clouse.

Owen again was a major factor on defense and also scored 11 points. Mason was also disruptive to Plum’s offense.

“They’re just great,” Coach Marshall said. “They set the tone for us defensively. Owen dictates the defense for us. And I’m going to allow him to continue to do that because he’s just playing a tremendous job.”

Many of the players on the Redbank Valley basketball team played football this fall and had an epic season that reached the state title game.

The basketball team has similar lofty goals.

But the Bulldogs are remaining cautious.

One step at a time.

“We have to stay level for now,” Bain said. “I mean, like in football, we weren’t even talking about anything but winning the district. I think the biggest thing that our basketball team shares with the football team is staying level and not thinking too far ahead. When the time comes we can think about making a run in the playoffs.”

Chris Marshall thinks wins like this will go a long way in showing how good the Bulldogs can be.

“Not many teams can do what we can do, especially with our backcourt,” Chris Marshall said. “We can all potentially score 20 points per game and that’s going to be pretty scary for teams that play us.”

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Redbank Valley, Keystone, and Union/A-C Valley sports coverage on Explore and is brought to you by Heeter Lumber.

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