The Marion girls hung with the home team through the first quarter in Friday’s contest at Council Grove, but early success was not enough to hold off an eventual 60-36 Brave victory.
Marion enjoyed a 6-2 advantage at the 3:32 mark of the first quarter. But Council Grove responded with a 5-0 run to take a 7-6 lead. Corey Shields contributed the Warriors’ final four points of the quarter, but the Braves still led, 11-10, at the first break.
“I thought for the first time in about four games we had a good first quarter,” coach Kelly Robson said. “We didn’t get down 8-2 or something like that. They seemed to be pretty focused and ready to go. They saw no reason that we couldn’t compete with this team early in the game.”
Marion struggled in the opening minutes of the second quarter with missed shots and turnovers. The Braves used a 9-0 run to take a 20-10 lead at the 4:00 mark.
Kelli Hess scored the Warriors’ first points of the quarter with 3:35 remaining before halftime. Marion added a basket by Shields and free throws by Katey Ehrlich, but the Braves extended the lead to 27-16 by halftime.
“I think we had about five possessions in a row where we didn’t get a shot up because we threw the ball out of bounds,” Robson said. “Those long arms make us throw some of those passes a little higher than we think maybe we needed to. I don’t mean to make excuses, but the second quarter kind of got us down.”
The Braves opened the third quarter with a three-point basket. Ehrlich sank two free throws at 5:23 for Marion’s first points, but height proved to be an issue for the Warriors, who struggled to pull down rebounds.
Council Grove used a 10-0 run to push the lead to 46-22 with less than a minute left in the third period. Baskets by Kaelyn Thierolf and Ehrlich narrowed Council Grove’s lead to 46-26 going into the last period.
The Braves kept the lead at 20 points or more the rest of the game.
Shields led all scorers with 10 total points.
“I don’t know that we took a step back tonight, this was just a pretty good team,” Robson said. “We knew it was going to be a tough one.”
Coming––The Warriors, 0-3 on the league and 3-10 overall, will return to Heart of America action when they face Canton-Galva (0-3, 1-12) Tuesday, then take on Berean Academy (3-0, 10-2) Friday for a 6 p.m. tipoff.