|Julia Zeiner drives for the basket against Hillsboro guard Tiffany Rooker during the second half of Friday’s game. Zeiner scored 12 points in the Warriors’ 56-48 victory. Photo by Don Ratzlaff.|
The win kept Marion undefeated in league play at 3-0 (6-6 overall) while Hillsboro (5-7) dropped to 2-1 in the MCAA.
The Trojans had trimmed a 41-33 Marion lead at the start of the fourth quarter to a 46-44 margin when Amy Neufeld drained a 3-pointer from the right corner with 3:35 left in the contest.
Hillsboro looked to tie the score when it rebounded a missed shot by Marion’s Kristin Steinborn. But turnovers on back-to-back Trojan possessions, one of which led to a layup by Hett, reignited Marion’s momentum.
Samantha Heinrichs sank a 10-foot jumper at the 1:58 mark to pull HHS back to within two points, 48-46. But Heerey’s dead-eye accuracy at the line—10 of 11 for the game—ignited an 8-0 run over the final 1:35, aided by two more Trojan turnovers in the final 30 seconds.
Marion enjoyed a 10-point lead before Dakota Kaufman added one last bucket for Hillsboro as time ran out.
The two teams got off to a slow start. A steal by Kaufman led to a late layup by Amy Neufeld that gave Hillsboro a 6-4 lead as the first quarter ended.
Both teams stepped up their offense in the second quarter. When Amanda Faber drained a 3-pointer at the 3:30 mark and Neufeld followed with a bucket in the paint, Hillsboro enjoyed its largest lead of the night, 19-14.
The Trojans withstood a 3-point bank shot by Hett and a traditional three-point play by Heerey to still lead by three, 23-20, after Neufeld sank two free throws with 1:30 left in the half.
But six straight free throws by Marion—two by Hett and four by Heerey—followed by a basket in the paint by Julia Zeiner, gave the Warriors an 8-0 run and a lead it would not surrender the rest of the night.
One more basket by Neufeld—her 12th point of the first half—pulled the Trojans to within 28-25 at intermission.
The two teams traded points through most of the third quarter. But consecutive baskets by Lauren Helmer and Zeiner in the final seconds of the period extended the margin to eight points heading into the final quarter.
“They played with more heart and confidence than we did,” said Trojan coach Nathan Hiebert. “We had stretches where we played well, but they did it a lot more of the game than we did.”
Hillsboro actually shot the ball better than Marion from the floor, 49 percent (20-41) to just under 40 percent (17-43). But the Warriors enjoyed a huge advantage at the free-throw line: 20 of 29 shots compared to five of 11 for Hillsboro.
“The kind of ball they play, they just put their heads down and go until they run into somebody or they get a layup,” Hiebert said.
“You’ve got to get into a better (defensive) stance or move your feet better. We’ve got to work on that.”
Heerey’s work at the line, enhanced with 4-for-9 shooting from the floor, tied her with Hillsboro’s Neufeld for game scoring honors with 19 points. Heerey’s 14 rebounds gave her a double-double for the night.
Hett, who made six of seven free throws, finished with 17 points and Zeiner added 12.
For Hillsboro, Neufeld made seven of nine shots from the floor to go with four of five free throws for her 19 points. Kaufman also broke double figures with 14 points.
Coming—In a pair of challenging matchups, Hillsboro was schedule for a game Tuesday at Haven, then will face Hesston Friday at Brown Gymnasium. Both teams were 8-3 overall and 3-0 in the league at the start of the week. But games are league contests.
Marion, meanwhile, was to play host to Nickerson (8-4, 1-2) on Tuesday before traveling to Lyons (1-11, 0-3) on Friday in a pair of league contests.