Newark High School boys basketball coach Jeff Quackenbush keeps saying this team is his best when it comes to shooting free throws.

Newark High School boys basketball coach Jeff Quackenbush keeps saying this team is his best when it comes to shooting free throws.

The Wildcats keep proving him correct, too. They outscored Marion-Franklin 31-4 at the line and missed only three attempts to earn a 60-49 victory on Friday in a Division I second-round tournament game at Olentangy Orange.

"That was our goal: to get to the free-throw line," said Quackenbush, who is in his 10th season. "We wanted to attack, and we did that."

The fourth-seeded Wildcats improved to 19-3 with a sixth consecutive victory and advanced to meet seventh-seeded Upper Arlington in a district semifinal in the middle bracket at 2:30 p.m. March 7 in the Ohio Expo Center. The Red Devils, who have no seniors on their roster, finished 15-6.

"It was tough as far as the fouls," Marion-Franklin coach Orlando McCoy said. "It was hard for us to play; hard for us to do anything. It's hard when you get to this level. I'm not complaining, but I kept telling the refs that when you get to this level you should let the boys play."

The Red Devils were whistled for 26 fouls compared to Newark's 15. The Wildcats needed nearly every one of them on a night when they made only 10 of 31 field goals (32.3 percent), including five of 15 (33.3 percent) on 3-pointers.

Newark, which converted 13 of 14 free throws in the fourth quarter, also made a defensive adjustment after leading only 25-21 at the half. A 12-4 run gave it a double-digit lead for the first time at 37-27 with 2 minutes, 8 seconds remaining in the third quarter.

"We thought we could mix it up and play some zone but they hit some 3s on us," Quackenbush said. "We went back to playing man-to-man."

Rahlin Watson scored 15 points and Cody Dennison added 13 for the Wildcats, and they combined to go 19 of 20 (95 percent) from the free-throw line. Ryan Dierks contributed 14 points. Elijah Macon scored 15 points and Dejuan McGaughy added 13 for Marion-Franklin.