Victory was within Marion’s reach Friday night, but the Warrior boys could not pull it out, dropping a 54-49 decision in front of a homecoming crowd at Council Grove.
Chilly shooting was the culprit as the Warriors shot only 35 percent from the field (16-46) and a mere 8 percent (1-13) from behind the arc.
“We had a bad shooting night,” coach Jeff McMillin said. “I don’t think we need to make any big changes, just stay the course and have a better night. Sometimes the shots just don’t fall.”
Jordan Hett accounted for all of Marion’s first-quarter points, and good defense kept Marion in the game with a 9-5 lead at the end of the period.
Hett scored Marion’s first four points of the second quarter, and a basket by Ethan Hett at 5:39 gave Marion a 15-7 lead, which turned out to be the Warriors’ largest of the night.
James Jones contributed a basket with 3:49 left before half, but the Braves scored four straight points to draw within 17-15 at 2:37.
The shots did not fall for Marion until Jordan Hett and Zac Robson hit consecutive baskets to take a 21-15 lead into the locker room at the half.
The Warriors led the Braves by as many as five points in the third period. Jones cashed in on a traditional three-point play at 5:08 for a 26-21 Marion lead, and Jacob Harper followed with a three-point play at 4:29 to bring the score to 29-24.
Jordan Hett nailed a basket at 3:57 to maintain a 31-26 advantage, but missed shots enabled the Braves to sneak back into the game.
The Braves outscored Marion 20-13 in the third quarter and tied the game at 31 on a three-point basket at 2:25. The Braves led 35-34 as the period ended.
“It’s as simple as we were not the aggressors in the third quarter,” McMillin said. “Council Grove outworked us, got loose balls and offensive rebounds.”
The Warriors battled back to tie the game at 38 after a Jordan Hett basket followed by a Taylor Heidebrecht steal that led to a basket by Ethan Hett.
It would be the Warriors’ final basket, however, as the rest of Marion’s points came from the charity stripe. For the game, the Warriors made 16 of 18 free throws.
The Braves, meanwhile, drained back-to-back three-point baskets to take their largest lead of the night, 47-40, with 4:58 left in the game.
Marion fought from the charity stripe as Harper and Heidebrecht free throws tied the game at 47 with 3:29 left.
“We got back in the game in the first half of the fourth quarter because we started to play more inspired basketball,” McMillin said. “When we got the game tied, it was a matter of (the Braves) making a play or two more than we did.”
Two free throws by Harper gave Marion one last lead at 49-47. But Council Grove surged with seven unanswered points to seal the five-point victory.
Jordan Hett led all scorers with 23 points, followed by Harper with 13.
Coming––The Warriors, 2-1 in league play and 11-2 overall, were scheduled to face Heart of America foe Canton-Galva (0-4, 2-11) at home Tuesday then will travel to Berean Academy (2-2, 7-5) Friday for a 7:30 p.m. tipoff.