The Marion High School boys basketball team gave the Republic County Buffaloes everything they could handle for two quarters, but ultimately lost its first round game 59-46 on the second night of the Trojan Classic in Hillsboro.
Republic put four players in double-digits, and, despite 22 points from Elliot Hett, Marion simply could not match that pace. Republic entered the third quarter with a 1-point lead and ran off a 15-6 stretch to relegate the Warriors to the 4:45 p.m. game Thursday night.
It was immediately apparent that Republic intended to play methodically, as suffocating defense and precise offense set the tone after the opening tip. Marion trailed 8-4, but caught a spark from Hett and Eric Vogel, who notched back-to-back baskets to tie the game midway through the period. With 2:51 left in the first, Brian Fruechting tallied two free throws, and the Warriors led 10-8. Luke Gordon made it 12-10 with a baseline jumper, but the Buffaloes scored three straight points to retake the lead.
They opened it up to 23-16 early in the second quarter, but Marion rallied behind Hett, who scored nine points in the period. A bucket by Vogel made it 26-25 at halftime.
That was the last Marion saw of Republic, as the Buffaloes scored 10 straight points to open the third.