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MARBLE FALLS — Before the start of the Marble Falls High School boys basketball team’s own McDonald’s Classic, head coach Bruce Etheridge said Waco University would challenge his players in every phase when they met Friday night.

He was right. University defeated the Mustangs (2-10) 58-25.

Still, Etheridge credited his players for their efforts, noting their willingness to get better during pool play of the McDonald’s Classic. He believes this event has served that purpose.

“I actually feel like we came out and competed well,” he said.

University raced to a 7-2 lead before Marble Falls senior post Gayln Griffin dumped a pass to junior post Rey Baltazar. After a Marble Falls timeout, the duo hit three free throws to trim the deficit 11-7 after the first period.

But University showed its depth, speed, experience and chemistry during the second stanza, yielding only a basket to the Mustangs by sophomore forward Ben Stripling.

Waco dropped in 13 points in the second, then another 20 in the third to take a 44-18 lead.

Etheridge substituted during the second half, noting each player earned their minutes based off their practices.

Baltazar led the Mustangs with nine points, followed by Stripling and sophomore guard Aidin Parnell with four each and Griffin finished with three.

While Etheridge showed pride in his players’ efforts, he now wants to see them finish plays.

“We have to hit some shots,” he said. “Rey is always going to demand the double team. (Not finishing plays) is just a lack of experience. Right now they’re just not falling.”

Marble Falls will finish their own tournament 1 p.m. Dec. 3 when it faces Killeen High in Max Copeland Gym, 2101 Mustang Drive.