The Marion girls (1-3) ended on a high note as they defeated Belle Plaine Saturday to take fifth in the Marion Classic tournament.
“It was a big emotional lift for them,” coach Kelly Robson said. “I’m hoping we can use this bit of encouragement to continue to improve our play and keep getting closer as a team and better as players.”
The win came after disappointing losses to Peabody-Burns, 31-25, and Remington, 45-34, in pool play.
In both games, Marion held a substantial lead early in the game but couldn’t hold on for the victory.
“These girls have experienced quite a bit of losing the past few years and it can become almost an expectation,” Robson said. “On Saturday, they did the things necessary at the end of a close game to come out on top.
“I’m hopeful we can make it a habit to compete hard to the very end of each game—and to win a few along the way.”
Belle Plaine—Marion came out on top Saturday after taking on the Dragons in the fifth-place match.
“It’s been several years since the Marion girls have won a game in the Classic tournament,” coach Kelly Robson said. “It felt really good to the girls to get a win on the home floor early in the season.”
In a back-and-forth first period, Marion and Belle Plaine swapped leads nearly every possession. But the Warriors came out ahead, 9-8, thanks to a last-second bucket from Erika Herzet to end the first quarter.
“Ericka Herzet came into the Belle Plaine game and provided a couple key baskets and some rebounds that really helped the effort,” Robson said.
The Dragons took back the lead with a three-pointer to start the second period, but Marion strung together a six-point run to take a 15-11 lead at 5:33.
With 36 seconds remaining, Belle Plaine scored to the game at 19-19 going into the break.
Marion fought a neck-and-neck battle with the Dragons in the third quarter, with Megan Richmond’s basket at the 18-second mark to narrow Belle Plaine’s lead to 31-30 at the end of the period.
Katey Ehrlich scored on a steal to start the fourth quarter and give Marion the lead. The Warriors slowly drew away to outscore Belle Plaine, 16-8, in the final period.
Richmond helped seal the deal with a three-pointer and a traditional three-point play as the clock wound down. Marion claimed the win, 46-39.
Ehrlich led her team with 13 points and Richmond added 11, including two three-pointers. Erin Meierhoff scored nine points. Richmond led with six rebounds, with five each from Ehrlich and Meierhoff. Meierhoff earned four steals and five assists.
Remington—Marion couldn’t hang onto its halftime lead and fell to the Broncos, 45-34 in the opening round.
The Warriors jumped ahead of the Broncos, thanks to the effort of post Kaelyn Thierolf and guard Kelli Hess.
Remington rallied from a double-digit deficit during the second quarter, but a late three-pointer from Hess helped give Marion a 20-15 lead at the half.
But it wouldn’t last.
Remington got consecutive baskets to begin the half, sparking a back-and-forth battle. The Broncos packed the lane to shut down Thierolf’s scoring, then with 3:37 left the Broncos took a 26-24 lead.
“(Remington) stepped up their trapping pressure and we didn’t handle it very well,” coach Kelly Robson said. “They managed to create turnovers with that pressure and really limited what we were hoping to do.
“Our girls tried to make the needed adjustments, but the pressure was pretty intense so we had limited results.”
Despite a three-pointer from Katey Ehrlich to end the third period, Marion trailed, 32-27.
Erin Meierhoff scored off a steal to start the final period, but Remington outscored Marion, 13-7, for the final score of 45-34.
Hess and Thierolf led the Warrior attack with nine and eight points, respectively. Ehrlich, Meierhoff and Megan Richmond each added five points, with Richmond leading with six boards.
Ehrlich, Meierhoff, Richmond and Hess each had a basket from three-point range.
Peabody-Burns—Marion came up short against the visiting Warriors, 31-25, in the first round of the tournament.
Both teams started sluggishly, but Marion held a slim 4-3 lead at the end of the first period.
Play heated up in the second quarter. Peabody-Burns grabbed the lead with just under four minutes left. Marion rallied to scored 10 points by the end of the period to claim a 14-11 advantage at the break.
Marion outscored Peabody-Burns in the third period, 7-2, to take a 21-13 lead. But Peabody-Burns sank three baskets from beyond the arc to outscore Marion, 18-4, in the final period and claim the win.
Katey Ehrlich led Marion with eight points, followed by Kaelyn Thierolf and Erin Meierhoff with six each.
“The players are seeing where we need to continue to improve,” Robson said. “Our ball handling is getting better, but still needs to improve. Our shooting has come around a bit, but we still must keep working to do it right each and every time.”
Coming —The Warriors are scheduled to play at Canton-Galva Friday, with tipoff at 6 p.m.