Written by Katie Morford Friday, 10 February 2012 23:21
The queen of comebacks was a vicious lady tonight, favoring first Bennington and then Marion in down-to-the wire match-ups. The Marion girls were her first victim, as they held a 27-6 lead at halftime only to lose, 51-45, in overtime. But Queen Comeback looked with favor on the boys, helping a team that trailed the whole game to rally behind leader Jordan Hett's 30-point performance and claim a 62-59 comeback victory in the final minutes of play.
The boys improve to 9-8 overall, while the girls fall to 2-15 on the season.
BOYS - After trading scoreless possessions, Bennington drained a three-pointer at 6:55 to set the tone for the quarter, and much of the game. Though Jordan Hett scored off a steal 30 seconds later, the Bulldogs followed it up with another three-pointer, one of four they made in the first period.
Though Marion had decent motion and got some good looks, they just could not get the shots to fall. Hett did sink a three at 4:14 to make it 10-5 and keep Bennington from running away with the game too early, but he would not score again in the quarter. Bennington scored with .7 on the clock to hold a 20-13 lead at the end of the first period.
It looked like Marion's luck might improve as Hett scored seven seconds into the second quarter to make it 20-15. But Jacob Harper's three-pointer on the next possession bounced out and the momentum swung back the Bulldogs' way. Marion would narrow Bennington's lead to just a bucket twice more, once off a jumper from Hett and once with a three-pointer from Mikael Antoszyk. But they could never quite tip the scales in their favor and the Bulldogs pulled away for a 34-24 lead at the half.
Marion gritted its teeth and went to work in the third quarter, chipping away at Bennington's lead against a team that often bested Marion on the boards and rarely missed a chance to score. The Warriors' hard work paid off, as Hett completed a three-point play with a free throw to make it 40-37, Bulldogs, at 4:26. But Bennington again denied the comeback, out-scoring Marion, 10-4, for the remainder of the quarter to take back a 50-41 lead.
Once again Marion had seen their comeback efforts fall short, but a team that has battled all season wasn't ready to get on the bus and go home quite yet. Harper and Hett combined for four points right out of the gate, with Hett making the layup off the steal and then sinking his foul shot. Harper finally got a three-pointer to fall at 5:09 and Hett sank a basket from the perimeter to make it 54-52.
Marion and Bennington traded baskets, with the Bulldogs clinging to a narrow lead, until Hett drained a three-pointer at 2:19 and Harper completed the three-point play to give the Warriors their first lead of the game, 59-58, with 1:29 remaining. With 26 seconds left Hett scored one from the line, lucky since Bennington sank a freebie of their own with 16 seconds left, making it 60-59.
With just four seconds on the clock, Mikael Antoszyk went to the line for Marion. The senior came through for the Warriors, making both of his free throws to give Marion the three-point win.
In addition to Hett's 30 points, which included nine from beyond the arc, Harper scored 24 points.
GIRLS - Appearances proved to be deceiving as Marion played extremely sluggishly the first three minutes of the game, allowing Bennington a four-point lead, but then came roaring back to out-score the Bulldogs, 11-1, in the remainder of the first period.
Whitney Gordon had her best performance of the season in the first quarter, dominating the court. She scored all 11 of the Warriors' points, including three from beyond the arc, and was all over on defense, blocking shots, nabbing steals and pulling down rebounds.
Gordon scored on a rebound to start off the second quarter before being benched for foul trouble, leaving things in the capable hands of her teammates. Marion went on to score 14 more unanswered points, putting up 16 points to the Bulldogs' one point in the second quarter. The Warriors held a 27-6 advantage at the break.
They started out the second half well, with Megan Richmond sinking back-to-back three-pointers to make it 33-8 with 5:04 left in the third quarter. But Bennington found their spark to score eight unanswered points in 2:20 of play time before Erika Herzet scored off a rebound to halt their streak. Despite looking a little shaky toward the end of the period, Marion still held an 18-point lead.
But the fourth quarter would not be kind to the Warriors. They struggled against the Bennington press and gave the ball away time after time for a total of 22 turnovers in the game. They also were just 8-23 at the line overall, despite going 6-6 in the first half. By 6:27 Bennington had narrowed Marion's lead to 39-25.
As the clock wound down to 3:50 the Bulldogs came alive from the perimeter, sinking four buckets from beyond the arc in three minutes to draw within two points. With 12.6 remaining they scored again to tie it for the first time, 40-40, and send the game into overtime.
Kaelyn Thierolf scored 30 seconds in to give Marion the early lead, but the Bulldogs would take it back 15 seconds later. The Warriors would draw within two points twice more, thanks to a free throw from Erin Meierhoff and a bucket from Corey Shields, but Bennington drew away in the final minute to claim the six-point win.
Gordon had 13 points in the loss, all in the first half.
COMING UP - Marion is scheduled to play at Inman Tuesday before hosting Bennington for a re-match Friday. Tip-off is at 6 p.m. for the girls and 8 p.m. for the boys.