Written by Andrew Ottoson Tuesday, 19 December 2006 18:00After a fast start, the Marion boys lost 68-55 to Smoky Valley on Friday.
By splitting games against the Smoky Valley and Lyons boys this week, the Warriors closed out 2006 with a 4-2 record.
When Travis Hett buried his second 3-pointer only 1:05 into the game, Marion led 6-0 and Smoky Valley seemed headed for an early timeout.
Instead, the Vikings, led by two-time all-league player Justin Holcom, rattled off eight consecutive points to grab their first lead.
"Holcom's bigger and more athletic than almost anyone we play," coach Rex Ostmeyer said. "He's a real handful."
Marion bounced back when Jason Hett sliced to the basket, scored and drew a foul in the process. Hett converted the bonus shot at the 4:25 mark to make it 9-8, Warriors.
Smoky Valley then went on a 16-3 run to finish the quarter, and the run continued into the second quarter.
"We played very poorly on offense in that stretch, and kind of lost our composure," Ostmeyer said. "Unfortunately, that four-minute stretch was the key to the game."
The Vikings scored nine more unanswered points to take a 33-12 lead with 4:10 left in the half.
With 3:50 to go in the second quarter, Calvin Jeffrey made a highlight-reel shot when he crashed the offensive glass and, with taller Vikings on either side of him, out-jumped the defenders and tipped the ball through for two points.
The shot gave Jeffrey one of the 25 rebounds the Warriors pulled down during the game. The Vikings finished with 43 rebounds-18 offensive and 25 defensive.
"Our biggest weakness is rebounding the ball," Ostmeyer said. "If we figure out how to keep people from killing us on the boards, we're going to be really tough to beat."
In the second half, Marion never came closer than 12 points.
With 3:40 remaining in the third quarter, MHS cut the lead to 12, but Holcom made a layup 16 seconds later. The play became a back-breaker when a foul was called on Travis Hett, followed by a technical.
The calls gave Smoky Valley four free throws and the ball. The Vikings ran their lead from 37-25 to 46-25 before the clock struck 3:00.
MHS then rattled off a 10-0 run to close out the quarter, capped by a Kyle Hett three-point play in the paint with four seconds to go.
"We scored easily in the second half, and we made them miss shots," Ostmeyer said. "A lot of their scores in the second half were second-chance points."
A bucket by Emmanuel Jackson cut the lead to 12 again with 4:14 to go in the fourth, but the Vikings warded off the late charge.
"We should gain confidence from this game, because for 28 minutes, we were as good as or better than one of the best (Class) 4A teams in the state," Ostmeyer said. "People may think I'm crazy, but if we rebound the ball and defend the post, we can win a state championship."
After making only five of 21 shots in the first half, MHS hit 13 of 29 shots in the second half. The total (18-50) worked out to 36 percent from the floor.
Travis Hett and Jason Hett led the Warriors with 18 and 12 points, respectively.
Lyons-Marion used efficient, accurate shooting to drop the Lyons Lions 73-44 on Tuesday.
"We got off to a slow start defensively, but we played pretty well offensively the entire game," Ostmeyer said.
After shooting 52 percent and outscoring Lyons 36-24 in the first half, the Warriors drilled 17 of 22 shots in the second half to build their lead to 31.
Marion buried the Lions with a 26-point third quarter. The resulting 30-point lead brought the running-clock rule into play for the fourth quarter.
MHS had four players finish with double-digit point totals: Calvin Jeffrey (15), Travis Hett (14), Emmanuel Jackson (14) and Jason Hett (13).
Coming-The Warriors get two weeks off for the holidays. League play begins Jan. 5 with a road trip to Ellinwood (0-3) for a Friday night contest. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m.