Written by Janae Rempel Tuesday, 19 February 2013 13:51
The Marion girls showed improved penetration in the lane Friday night at Bennington and rallied to within two points of the home team in the final quarter, but couldn’t pull off a win, dropping the contest, 51-42.
The teams entered a back-and-forth battle in the opening minutes of the first quarter.
Kaelyn Thierolf scored six of the Warriors’ eight first-quarter points, but after a Thierolf basket at 2:58 that gave Marion a slim, 8-7, lead, the Bulldogs surged 7-0 to end the quarter in front, 14-8.
The Warriors found themselves in early foul trouble, drawing their seventh team foul just 11 seconds into the second period.
But the Warriors battled to within three, 19-16, following consecutive baskets by Kirsten Hansen and Katey Ehrlich with 2:04 left before halftime. Bennington, however, surged to a 23-16 lead at the break.
The Bulldogs built a double-digit, 30-20, lead on a three-point basket with 5:38 left in the third quarter, but Marion chipped away at the Bennington lead and narrowed the gap to 34-32 at the end of the quarter after Erin Meierhoff drained a three-point basket.
“Because we were driving, we were getting to the free-throw line a little bit, we were making some layups, getting some easier shots,” coach Kelly Robson said. “Down at the other end, we kept defending hard.
“They ran us through a ton of screens, and the girls just kept trying to fight it.”
The teams traded scores to open the final quarter, but Bennington bumped the lead to 43-36 at 2:54.
The early fouls came back to haunt Marion.
“The early fouls on Kaelyn and then Katey ended up costing us in the end,” Robson said. “Having Katey in there at the end to maybe drive the basketball would’ve been an important thing.
“Having those two girls foul out just kind of takes the whole team down a little bit in energy.”
The Warriors drew within 44-41 with 1:03 left in the game, but when Warrior shots refused to fall, Marion sent Bennington to the charity stripe, where the Bulldogs scored their final seven points.
Kelli Hess added Marion’s final point from the free-throw line with 36 seconds left, but Bennington held the lead when time expired.
Ehrlich led the Warriors with 11 points.
Inman––Different rotations helped spur the Marion girls to a three-point, 34-31, victory over Inman Tuesday.
Once again, height was an issue for Marion, but the Warriors found a way to overcome.
“We played a couple of big players together tonight a little bit more,” coach Kelly Robson said. “Having a couple of bigger players out there tonight helped us to do some things.
“We weren’t taller than Inman, but we’re not taller than anybody––we know that, and I just thought the guards really took care of the basketball.”
The Warriors played without starter Kelli Hess, who coach Robson said missed the game because of illness.
Marion kept pace with the visiting Teutons, but struggled on defense to guard the paint.
But a Megan Richmond basket narrowed the Inman lead to 10-7 at the end of the first period.
A switch to zone defense gave the Warriors a spark, and Richmond’s basket ignited a Marion surge that put the Warriors in front, 13-10, when Kaelyn Thierolf scored with 1:33 left before halftime.
The Warriors held the Teutons to three points in the quarter, and took a 15-13 lead into the locker room after Kirsten Hansen scored at the buzzer.
While Katey Ehrlich opened scoring in the second half with a basket at 6:57, Marion did not score again until the 2:30 mark.
Inman took advantage of Marion missed shots and surged 7-0 to regain a 20-17 lead with three minutes left in the third period.
But three back-to-back Warrior scores courtesy of Corey Shields and Hansen gave Marion a 23-20 lead, only to have the Teutons even the score with a three-point basket with 48 seconds left in the third.
Richmond answered with a basket behind the arc 18 seconds later for a 26-23 Marion lead going into the final quarter.
Although the Teutons drew within one point of Marion on a few occasions, Marion led the duration of the final quarter and enjoyed a three-point lead when time expired.
Richmond led the Warrior attack with nine points.
Coming––Marion (2-6, 5-14) was scheduled to wrap up the regular season with a home contest against Hutchinson Trinity (3-6, 8-9) Tuesday.
The girls will open sub-state play Monday. Joining Marion will be Hillsboro, Haven, Lyons, Southeast of Saline, Hutchinson Trinity, Halstead and Sacred Heart.
The higher seed will host first-round contests, with following games hosted by Hillsboro.
Seedings will be posted at hillsborofreepress.com as soon as they become available.