Written by Katie Morford Tuesday, 07 February 2012 22:24
There are few harder ways to lose a game than to be edged by a free throw in the last two seconds, after leading most of the game. But the Marion boys had that bitter pill to swallow tonight as they fell to Ell-Saline, 48-47. The loss puts them at 8-8 for the season. The Warrior girls fared even worse, suffering a 52-34 defeat at the hands of the Cardinals that leaves them with a 2-14 overall record.
BOYS - The Marion boys dominated out of the gate, cruising to a 14-8 lead at the end of the first period. Jacob Harper scored at the line to complete the three-point play and found the basket from the perimeter two minutes later. Jordan Hett sank a three-pointer at 1:49 to make it 13-4 and keep the momentum rolling.
Play heated up in the second quarter, with the Cardinals escaping with a six-point scoring burst to bring them within three points. But Mikael Antoszyk scored a layup off a steal to swing things back to the Warrior way and kick off a six-point spurt from Marion to give them a 23-14 lead at 4:30. Ell-Saline sank back-to-back threes, but Marion scored three times off the offensive rebound to hold a comfortable 32-23 lead at the break.
The first part of the third quarter was not kind to the Warriors, as the Cardinals came out to score nine unanswered points and tie the game for the first time. Both teams traded possessions without points being scored until finally Ethan Hett hit the jumper from the field and Jordan Hett sank a three to give Marion reprieve for the moment and a 41-34 lead at the end of the period.
Ell-Saline tied it again with 5:34 remaining, but once again Marion found a way to survive with a Harper three-pointer 34 seconds later. The Cardinals took the lead at 3:43, 45-44, but once again Ethan Hett came through at a critical moment to bring Marion back on top. The Cardinals would take the lead again before Harper sank a free throw with 1:36 left to make it 47-47.
But in perhaps the most critical play of the night, as Harper drove in to the basket in a tangle of arms and legs, officials called a jump ball and gave the ball back to the Cardinals. Just two seconds remained on the clock when Ell-Saline made the last of two free throws to secure the one-point win.
Jordan Hett had 17 points, including nine from beyond the arc, and Harper contributed 15 points, including two three-pointers.
GIRLS - The Warriors struggled early against Ell-Saline's perimeter offense, which sank three baskets from beyond the arc in the first quarter. Marion trailed by only one point with 4:23 left as Whitney Gordon made a free throw. But the Cardinals broke free 30 seconds later for a 14-point scoring run that gave them a 20-5 lead at the end of the first period.
Kelli Hess finally snapped Marion's scoring drought two minutes into the second quarter, making it 22-7. The Warriors continued to recover as Megan Richmond scored twice inside before following up Gordon's three-pointer at 1:38 with one of her own, bringing Marion within 10 points at 28-18.
Marion out-scored Ell-Saline in the second quarter, 13-10, to allow the Cardinals a 30-18 lead at the half.
But the recovery was short-lived as Marion scored just five points in the third quarter. The Cardinals put 16 points on the board, including six from three-point range, giving them their largest lead of the game at 46-23.
The Warriors would pull their act together in the final period to score 11 points to Ell-Saline's seven, including four points off the bench in the last minute of play time. But it was too little, too late, to overcome the deficit and Marion dropped the game, 52-34.
Megan Richmond led Marion in scoring with nine points, and Katey Ehrlich and Gordon each had seven points.
COMING UP - Marion is scheduled to travel to Bennington Friday, with tip-off at 6 p.m. for the girls and 8 p.m. for the boys.