Height was a factor for the Marion girls in Tuesday’s 41-20 home loss to Sedgwick.
“We knew it was going to be an inside game for them, and (Annabelle Little, 5-feet, 11-inches) is a good player,” coach Kelly Robson said.
“(Little) did some damage in there against us under the zone or man, but I was pleased in the second half with our man-to-man defense. Again, it’s just hard to guard a player that big. We knew size was going to be an issue for us this year, and it was tonight.”
After falling behind 0-2, Erin Meierhoff evened the score with a basket at the 6:35 mark. A basket by Kaelyn Thierolf gave the Warriors their first and only lead of the night, 4-2. The Cardinals took the lead for good at 6-4.
Despite improved penetration by the Warriors, Marion struggled to get shots to fall.
After Sedgwick scored the second quarter’s first points at the charity stripe, Hess scored at the 6:21 mark to bring the Warriors within 8-6.
But Marion turnovers and missed shots contributed to an 11-0 run by the Cardinals. Meierhoff broke the streak with a basket at 1:31, but Sedgwick entered the half with a 13-point lead.
“We’ve got to block out better, especially against a team that’s bigger than we are,” Robson said. “(Sedgwick) got several offensive rebounds tonight, and second, and third and fourth chances. They couldn’t always make those either, but we shouldn’t give them that many chances.”
After halftime, Megan Richmond narrowed Sedgwick’s lead to 10 points with a three-pointer at the 7:12 mark, but the Cardinals outscored Marion 8-3 in the quarter to push the lead to 29-11.
Marion enjoyed a 5-0 run to open the fourth quarter courtesy of a Hess free throw and a basket and two free throws by Katey Ehrlich.
But Sedgwick answered with a 5-0 run before Hess drained a three-point shot with 2:38 left in the game, bringing the score to 34-19.
Ehrlich scored Marion’s final point from the free-throw line, but Sedgwick went on to nail down a 21-point win.
“I thought we had good cuts to the basket, got some passes in there, and we just couldn’t get the ball in the hole,” Robson said. “Had we kept it a little closer by half, maybe the second half would’ve gone a little bit differently as well, but it’s just the way it went tonight I guess.”
Kelli Hess led the Warriors’ attack in the paint, finishing with a game-high eight points.
“I thought Kelli Hess did a really good job offensively trying to take the ball to the basket,” Robson said.
Also aiding the Warrior cause was Megan Richmond, who led the team in rebounding and played solid defense, according to Robson.
With the loss, Marion dropped to 0-3 in the league and 2-7 overall.
Coming––Marion will compete in the Cougar Classic hosted by Centre this week. The Warriors were scheduled to open play against White City (3-2, 5-5) at 4 p.m. Tuesday with additional games Friday and Saturday.