The energy was there Saturday as the seventh-seeded Marion surged to a 60-43 victory over eighth-seeded Wakefield to take fifth at the Cougar Classic.
Wakefield jumped to an 8-2 lead, but Marion capitalized on Bomber turnovers to finish the first quarter with an 11-0 run and a 13-8 lead.
“We thought we could pressure their ball-handlers, and it proved that we could,” coach Kelly Robson said.
With Marion leading by two at the 3:32 mark of the second quarter, Kelli Hess scored off a Wakefield turnover to ignite a 5-0 Marion surge. Hess nailed a three-point basket with 1:25 left to give the Warriors a 23-14 lead at the break.
Marion began to pull away in the third quarter, outscoring Wakefield 15-7 and taking a 27-17 lead on a second-chance basket by Hess at the 6:17 mark.
An 11-0 surge followed for the Warriors on baskets by Hess, Katey Ehrlich, Corey Shields and Erin Meierhoff for a 38-19 lead. The Bombers scored the last two points of the quarter.
Ehrlich scored four points in the first minute and a half of the fourth quarter, but a 9-0 run by the Bombers narrowed Marion’s lead to 44-31.
Kirsten Hansen hit two baskets in the quarter, with additional Warrior points coming from Kaelyn Thierolf, Ericka Herzet and Megan Richmond at the charity stripe.
Hess hit three back-to-back baskets within a minute for a 56-37 Warrior lead with two minutes to play.
“(Kelli) ran the floor great in the second half,” Robson said. “You saw lots of layups there for her in the fourth quarter, those six points she had in the fourth quarter. I was a little disappointed in her defensive effort at times, but offensively she really did a nice job for us.”
Ehrlich and Herzet scored Marion’s final four points for the 17-point victory.
Hess led Marion with a game-high 15 points. Shields added 11 points and Ehrlich 10.
“I think our defensive effort was pretty good tonight,” Robson said. “I’m just really proud of the girls. They’re coming along nicely, as a team and as individuals, and I just really like that.”
Marion is now 3-9 overall for the season.
Solomon 42, Marion 39
Marion’s loss to sixth-seeded Solomon ended close, but didn’t start that way. Marion made only one basket in the first four minutes to fall behind 15-2 with 4:27 left in the opening quarter.
A Katey Ehrlich free throw and a basket by Megan Richmond brought the Warriors within 15-5 at 3:44. The quarter ended with a basket by Kirsten Hansen off a steal for a 19-8 score.
“Our man-to-man defense in the first quarter was allowing better looks for Solomon than we were hoping,” coach Kelly Robson said. “We switched to a zone in the second quarter but were still able to keep pretty good pressure on the ball.”
The change proved to be effective as the Warriors held the Gorillas to only four points, Marion got baskets by Erin Meierhoff, Corey Shields and Kirsten Hansen to narrow the gap to 23-17 by the halftime.
“Solomon was making shots in the first quarter, and they cooled off some after that,” Robson said. “We intended to apply pressure to their guards all game, and in the second and third periods we saw some benefit come from that.
“I thought our girls started to play with more intensity in the second quarter, and that helped to hold Solomon’s point total down for the period.”
After the break, Meierhoff opened play with a three-point basket to bring the Warriors within three, 23-20. Later, Marion drew within two, 27-25, on a Richmond basket at 2:06.
Despite several steals, the Warriors could not capitalize until Hansen scored off one with 17 seconds left in the quarter to narrow the Gorilla lead to 30-27.
Kelli Hess opened the final quarter with a three-pointer to tie the game at 30.
The Warriors took their only lead of the night, 32-30, on a Meierhoff basket. But the Gorillas answered with a basket behind the arc at 6:39 to grab the lead for good.
Missed shots and turnovers didn’t help the Warrior cause, but a Richmond basket with 1:01 to play and a free-throw by Ehrlich brought Marion to within 38-37 with 51 seconds left.
Hansen got a steal, but a Warrior turnover gave the ball back to Solomon, who scored two free throws at the 30-second mark for a 40-37 lead.
An Ehrlich basket with 21 seconds left brought the Warriors within one 40-39, but two Gorilla free throws sealed the Solomon victory.
Ehrlich and Meierhoff led the Warriors with eight points each.
White City 43, Marion 33
First round, Tuesday
A determined Warrior squad battled hard on defense to keep their contest close against No. 2 seeded White City, but the Huskies prevailed in the end.
Marion fell behind 6-0, but a two-pointer by Erin Meierhoff and a three by Kelli Hess brought the Warriors within one, 6-5, at 3:41. Marion managed only one free throw to trail at the first break, 10-6.
The two teams more or less traded scores, but a late surge pushed the Huskies’ lead to 24-16 by halftime.
White City extended the lead to 26-16 with 6:26 left in the third quarter. Megan Richmond scored at the 4:05 mark to ignite a Warrior surge.
Kirsten Hansen came off the bench with a steal and basket at 2:06. Another Hansen steal led to a Hess second-chance basket at 1:47 to bring the Warriors within five, 27-22. Marion ended the quarter with baskets by Hansen and Hess to narrow White City’s lead to 29-26.
“Kirsten Hansen came in and was able to get some steals, and that just gave them all energy,” coach Kelly Robson said. “I was extremely pleased with that defensive effort after halftime.”
The Warriors surged in the final quarter, first on a Richmond basket in the paint, then Meierhoff sank a three-pointer at 5:04 to tie the game at 31.
But Marion fouls repeatedly sent the Huskies to the line, resulting in 12 points on free throws in the final quarter.
“We were just trying to keep the pressure going,” Robson said. “We will now work on pressuring hard without getting the foul to end the thing.”
Hess led the Warrior attack with 10 total points.
Coming––The Warriors are scheduled to travel to Council Grove Friday before hosting Canton-Galva next Tuesday.