Republic County—Marion jumped to a 20-point lead heading into the intermission and used up every inch of it in the third quarter of a 56-55 victory.
The Warriors got out of the gate on their first shot, a 3-pointer by Kayley Heerey, 20 seconds into the contest.
It was 7-0 before the Buffaloes scored. Julia Zeiner pushed the lead to 11 points on a field goal with 29 seconds to go. Lindsay Hett made it 21-7 with a 3-pointer on the first play of the second quarter.
The Warriors finished the frame on an 8-2 run capped by two free throws from Kristen Steinborn. The score was 31-11.
But the third quarter was a borderline disaster for Marion, as Celia Porter got Republic County going with a 3-pointer eight seconds after Zeiner picked up her third personal foul.
A put-back by Lauren Helmer at 5:03 was Marion’s only field goal of the quarter, while the Buffaloes ran off 16 consecutive points. Hett was fouled at the end of the period and broke the run with a free throw after the clock expired, giving Marion a 34-30 lead heading into the final period.
Heerey scored 5 points in the first 52 seconds of the quarter, but Republic refused to break.
Jessica Wollenberg cut the Warrior lead to a single point three times before breaking through to give her team a 55-54 lead on a pair of foul shots with 36 seconds remaining.
Marion called time out and put the ball in Heerey’s hands on the ensuing inbounds pass. Heerey used a dribble drive from the left wing perimeter to draw a hard blocking foul with six seconds remaining. She buried the Buffaloes by burying both free throws.
Heerey finished with 14 points. Hett led all scorers with 15 and Zeiner totaled 12.
Wamego—Tara Ingalsbe scored 23 points and wrangled 16 rebounds, but the game hinged on a 20-2 run the Red Raiders put together in the second quarter of a 60-44 win over Marion.
Marion trailed 18-17 after the first quarter, but the wheels on the comeback train fell off during the subsequent eight minutes.
In a 38-19 halftime hole, Marion regained its composure after the intermission and outscored Wamego 25-22 the rest of the way.
Julia Zeiner finished with 18 points on 9-for-17 shooting, and Kayley Heerey scored 10 points along with nine rebounds.
Riley County—The Falcons, ranked No. 1 in Class 3A, jumped to a 17-5 lead in the first quarter of Marion’s first-round game, cruised to a 34-16 halftime lead, then put the game away with an 18-8 third period.
Kayley Heerey thrived against the top seed, making all eight of her free-throw attempts on her way to 17 points.
But the Warriors committed 24 turnovers, and Riley County converted 19 steals into 25 points.
Coming—Marion (5-6 overall, 2-0 league) visits Hillsboro (5-6, 2-0) Friday night.