Both Marion teams dropped their basketball games Friday night in front of a homecoming crowd at Council Grove. The girls fell by a score of 60-36, while the boys dropped a 54-49 contest.
GIRLS – The Warriors jumped to an early 2-0 lead courtesy of a basket by Kaelyn Thierolf, but the Braves tied the game 11 seconds later. The Warriors, however, enjoyed a 4-0 run for a 6-2 advantage at the 3:32 mark when Brave shots refused to fall. But Council Grove responded with a 5-0 run of its own to take a narrow 7-6 lead at 2:20. Corey Shields contributed the Warriors’ final four points of the first quarter, but the Braves held a narrow, 11-10 lead at the end of one.
Marion struggled in the opening minutes of the second quarter, missing shots and committing turnovers. The Braves took advantage, surging 9-0 for a 20-10 double-digit lead at the 4:00 mark. Kelli Hess scored the Warriors’ first points of the quarter with 3:35 remaining before halftime. While Marion added to its score on a basket by Shields and following free throws by Katey Ehrlich, the Braves outscored Marion 16-6 in the quarter and increased their lead to 27-16 at the break.
The Braves opened the third quarter with a basket behind the arc. Ehrlich sank two free throws at 5:23 for Marion’s first points, but height again proved to be an issue for the Warriors, who struggled to pull down rebounds. The teams traded scores, with Warrior baskets coming from Shields and Erin Meierhoff for a 36-22 Brave lead at the 3:40 mark. The Braves continued to surge, with a 10-0 run contributing to a 24-point, 46-22, lead with under one minute to play in the third. Thierolf and Ehrlich made the quarter’s final baskets to narrow Council Grove’s lead to 46-26 going into the final quarter of play.
The fourth quarter opened with turnovers from both teams. The Braves scored first on two free throws at 5:46 and would continue to surge for a 50-26 lead one minute later. Shields broke the Marion scoring drought at 4:32, but Council Grove scored five unanswered points before Meierhoff drained a three-point basket at 2:23, making the score 55-31. The final two minutes, the teams traded points from the charity stripe, and Julia Hall sank a basket at the buzzer for a final score of 60-36.
Shields led all scorers with 10 total points.
BOYS – The game was within reach of the Marion boys Friday night, but the Warriors could not come up with the win, falling 54-49 to Council Grove.
The Warriors experienced difficulty on offense with shots not wanting to fall. Jordan Hett accounted for all of Marion’s first-quarter points, and good Warrior defense kept Marion in the game with a 9-5 lead at the end of the first period.
Hett scored Marion’s first four points of the second quarter, and a basket by Ethan Hett at 5:39 gave Marion an eight-point, 15-7 advantage, the Warriors’ largest of the night. James Jones contributed a basket with 3:49 left before half, but the Braves burst with four straight points to draw within two, 17-15, at 2:37. Despite many looks at the basket for Marion, the shots did not fall until Jordan Hett and Zac Robson hit consecutive baskets to take a 21-15 lead into the locker room at the half.
The Warriors led the Braves by as many as five points in the third period. Jones cashed in on a traditional three-point play at 5:08 for a 26-21 Marion lead, and Jacob Harper followed with a three-point play at 4:29 to bring the score to 29-24. Jordan Hett nailed a basket at 3:57 to maintain a 31-26 advantage, but missed shots allowed the Braves to sneak back into the game. In the end, the Braves outscored Marion 20-13 in the third quarter and tied the game at 31 on a three-point basket at 2:25. Despite a second three-point play by Harper, the Braves clung to a narrow, 35-34 advantage at the end of the third period.
Council Grove scored first in the final quarter, but the Warriors battled back to tie the game at 38 after a Jordan Hett basket followed by a Taylor Heidebrecht steal and basket by Ethan Hett at the 6:20 mark. It would be the Warriors’ final basket from the field, however, as the rest of Marion’s points came from the charity stripe. The Warrior offense could not keep pace with the Braves, who drained back-to-back three-point baskets to take their largest lead of the night, 47-40, with 4:58 left in the game. With defense keeping the Warriors going, Marion crawled back into the game from the free-throw line as Harper and Heidebrecht free throws tied the game at 47 with 3:29 left to play. Marion’s final points came from Harper at the charity stripe at 2:28 for a two-point, 49-47, Warrior lead. Marion had multiple opportunities to score in the final two minutes, but nothing fell as Council Grove surged with seven unanswered points to seal the five-point victory.
Jordan Hett led all scorers with 23 points, followed by Harper with 13.