For the second time in as many nights, Marion’s game was decided by a last-second 3-point shot. Fortunately for the Warriors, Justin Heidebrecht’s shot found the bottom of the net.
Having been outscored 9-2 in a sloppy first quarter and trailing by as many as 12 points in the first half, the Warriors mounted a third-period charge.
Marion outscored the Lions 26-14 in the frame, knotting the game at 40 on a 3-pointer by Calvin Jeffrey.
Lyons reclaimed the lead on a shot by Jake Craig and carried a 42-40 advantage into the fourth quarter. The visitors pushed their lead to three points three times.
After Brennan Clark put the Lions up 49-46 with 4:48 to go, Marion grabbed a 50-49 lead on unanswered baskets by Chase Carlson and Jeffrey.
Both offenses stalled with 4:15 to go, combining to score only 4 points during a 2-minute drought.
But when Heidebrecht drilled a 3-pointer for a 54-52 lead with 2:15 to go, scoring spiked at both ends of the floor. Clark answered Heidebrecht’s shot with a game-tying layup. Heidebrecht fired right back, weaving around the defense along the baseline and curling out toward the top of the key for another 3-point try.
The shot came up short, but Isaac Hett restored the Warriors lead with an understated offensive rebound and stick-back.
Lyons tied it again at 56 with 41 seconds to go on a runner by Payton Griffitt. Marion called time out with 36 seconds left.
The Warriors worked the clock down and got the ball to Jeffrey. Knifing through multiple Lions to get to the basket, Jeffrey had his shot disrupted by a sea of hands and then blocked.
But Jeffrey stuck with the loose ball and pinpointed Heidebrecht, who had stepped out into the vacant left corner.
A split-second after his shot rattled through the rim, Lyons called timeout to set up a last-ditch lob play.
But Heidebrecht intercepted the pass in the center circle to nullify the possibility of a replay of Friday’s buzzer-beater loss to Ellinwood.
Heidebrecht led all scorers with 18 points. Jeffrey added 17 points and seven assists and Hett contributed nine points and 14 rebounds.
Griffitt led four Lyons in double digits with 16 points, followed by 11 from Brett Bieberle and 10 each from Clark and Craig.
With Marion ahead 59-58, Ellinwood’s Ethan Thomas stepped behind a high screen and buried a 3-pointer at the buzzer to put his team on top a hair before the buzzer sounded.
Officials ruled that Marion had called time out before the clock expired, putting a momentary halt to Ellinwood’s post-game celebration.
With 1.4 seconds on the clock, the Warriors set up an inbounds play for Calvin Jeffrey, who took a long pass and one dribble before hoisting a closely guarded last-second 3-pointer.
The shot fell short, spoiling a sparkling effort by the senior guard. Jeffrey led all scorers with 20 points, eight rebounds, six assists and three steals.
Ellinwood overcame a 46-39 deficit in the fourth quarter, knotting the game at 46 with 5:16 to play and taking a 48-46 lead on a layup by Ryan Ward.
Marion had trailed 29-27 at halftime, but rattled off a 6-0 run to grab the lead in the first minute of the third frame.
In the manic moments that followed, Justin Heidebrecht tied the game with a jumper in the lane.
Ward then notched a layup after his initial shot was blocked by Isaac Hett. Jeffrey then re-tied it with an offensive rebound and putback. Ward hit a short-range jumper for a 52-50 Ellinwood lead.
Jeffrey drew a foul at the other end and buried two foul shots to tie it once more. Glenn Whitaker gave the Eagles a 54-52 lead, but Luke Gordon wiped it away with a nice putback off a miss by Jeffrey.
A pair of foul shots by Alex Birney gave Ellinwood a 56-54 lead with 2:15 to go.
Marion worked methodically for an open shot on its next possession, but the 3-pointer refused to fall. Eric Vogel tied up the offensive rebound in a scramble underneath, and possession stayed with Marion.
With 1:27 to go, Heidebrecht was fouled and nailed the opener of a one-and-one chance. He followed a miss on the second shot with aggressive defense, forcing Birney into a bad pass.
Jeffrey picked the loose ball out of the air and drove into the lane, drawing the lone defender to him and firing a no-look pass to Heidebrecht for an open layup and a 57-56 lead.
Heidebrecht then stood his ground against Birney at the other end, picking up his third personal in the process.
Birney missed the front end of a one-and-one, and Heidebrecht caught the rebound. Marion called time out with 57 seconds remaining.
The Warriors worked the ball around the perimeter, and forced Ellinwood to foul with 29 seconds left. Elliott Hett went to the line and gave Marion a 58-56 lead.
Then Birney dribbled the clock down to almost no time left and found Thomas, who made the game-winning shot.
Birney scored 12 points in support of Thomas and Ward, who each scored 14. Chase Carlson scored 9 points, and Heidebrecht 7 to go with eight rebounds.
Coming—Marion (1-1 league, 3-5 overall) faces Hoisington (0-1, 4-1) Friday in Marion. The Warriors will then play in the Trojan Classic in Hillsboro Jan. 14-19.