Marion, facing a tough Berean defense Friday, struggled to put points on the board in the opening quarter of Friday’s 42-26 loss at Elbing.
“It was difficult, and we knew (the Berean Warriors) were going to defend hard,” coach Kelly Robson said. “I was surprised the few times they switched into a zone. Actually, I expected them to play hard man-to-man the whole evening, and they were very good at it.”
Thanks to the defensive pressure, the home team surged to a 7-0 lead at the 2:33 mark.
Marion’s first points came when Katey Ehrlich cashed in a traditional three-point play with under one minute remaining in the opening quarter. Berean led 7-3 at the end of the first quarter.
Berean continued to pressure Marion in the second period.
“We tried to get some different people to the point to try to take some of the pressure off and not let Xannie (Quiring) take it away from us,” Robson said. “But she seemed to be able to take it away from us even if she wasn’t guarding the point person.”
Erin Meierhoff hit a basket at 7:23, and Ehrlich added a free throw, but a 10-0 Berean surge pushed the lead to 23-6 with less than a minute left in the half. Ericka Herzet’s basket with 37 seconds remaining resulted in a 23-8 halftime score.
When Berean switched to zone defense to open the third quarter, Meierhoff and Kelli Hess each drained a three-point basket to narrow Berean’s lead to 25-14.
Marion continued to fight on defense and battle for the boards.
“We’re not very tall, but one of the things we’ve really been stressing here in the last two weeks is we’ve got to block-out stronger,” Robson said.
“Katey’s a good rebounder. She’s too short to be playing down low in our zone, but she has to. Megan’s not much taller, but the two of them really give it everything they can. They’re doing a good job.”
Kirsten Hansen contributed five points for Marion in the quarter, and Ehrlich added two, but Berean led 33-21 going into the final quarter.
Marion twice got within 10 points—once on a basket by Kaelyn Thierolf to start the quater, and later on a steal and basket by Hansen at 4:37.
But Berean capitalized on steals and scored five straight points for a 40-25 lead with 2:55 left in the game. Berean finished with a 16-point victory.
“I thought we had a really good week of practice of being stronger with the basketball in our hands,” Robson said. “They didn’t really rip it away from us tonight in a one-on-one situation. They took some of our bad passes, our weaker passes.
“Earlier in the season we gave up some of those where they just flat took it away from us. So we just were determined to keep trying to cut hard to the basket. I’m very proud of the way (the girls) battled tonight.”
Hansen led Marion with seven points.
Canton-Galva––The Warriors held Canton-Galva scoreless the duration of the final quarter Tuesday, enabling them to overcome a double-digit deficit for a 30-27 victory.
Marion hung with the Eagles in the opening minutes of the first period, but a 6-0 Canton-Galva burst left Marion trailing 10-5 at the end of the quarter.
Erin Meierhoff gave Marion its first points of the second quarter with a three-point basket to narrow the gap to 12-8. Kaelyn Thierolf added a pair of free throws three minutes later.
But the Eagles used a 5-0 run to push their lead to 21-12 with under one minute left in the half. Megan Richmond scored with four seconds left, MHS trailed by seven at the break.
The Eagles enjoyed their largest lead of the game at 27-16 with 5:17 left in the third quarter. But it would be Canton-Galva’s final points of the night, as Marion burst to the finish with 14 unanswered points.
A switch to zone defense by the Warriors helped shut down the Eagles’ inside attack.
“We still played full-court man until they crossed half court, then we dropped back to a zone, and I thought that change really helped turn the game for us,” Robson said.
Katey Ehrlich stepped up, driving inside and drawing fouls to narrow the Eagles’ lead to 27-20 with 2:47 left in the third.
“We allowed some quick baskets early in the half, and I got a little frustrated with that. But Katey Ehrlich started to get into the lane a little bit offensively,” Robson said. “She didn’t always have to shoot it, but she was able to find those gaps and get in there, and that just changed our offensive flow a little bit.”
With Canton-Galva shots refusing to fall, Marion eliminated second-chance baskets by pulling down rebounds.
“We worked on (rebounding) yesterday in practice, and a couple of times you could really tell they were battling that much harder to do that,” Robson said.
Hess scored at 1:18, bringing the Warriors to within 27-22 to end the third quarter.
Ehrlich scored on a second chance basket with 5:12 left in the game, and Kirsten Hansen scored 20 seconds later to narrow the gap to 27-26.
Ehrlich free throws put the Warriors in the lead for good, 28-27, with 3:20 left in the game.
Turnovers and missed shots plagued both teams down the home stretch. Richmond went to the line with three seconds remaining to score the Warriors’ final two points. Marion made 11 of 15 free throws for the game.
Ehrlich led the Warriors with eight points.
Coming––Marion (1-4, 4-11) was scheduled to compete at Ell-Saline (4-1, 11-3) Tuesday and will host Bennington (1-4, 3-12) Friday at 6 p.m.