Warriors’ season ends against S.E. of Saline

ORIGINALLY WRITTEN ERIC CLARK
The Marion Warriors ended their season abruptly Monday night in the first-round game of the sub-state tournament with a 48-47 loss to Southeast of Saline.

Marion coach Chris Moddlemog was caught off guard by the Trojans.

“To be honest, they surprised us,” Moddlemog said. “Looking back on it, we probably shouldn’t have been. They were well prepared and they played very well tonight.”

Southeast of Saline jumped to an early 17-10 advantage in the first quarter.

But in the second quarter the Warriors rallied back into the game, trailing only by a point at halftime.

Momentum appeared to shift in Marion’s favor in the third quarter as they took a 36-33 lead at quarter’s end.

However, the Trojans pounded the ball inside to Chad Leister, a 6-3 forward who tallied 10 points on the night. Tom Komp, the eventual scoring leader in the game, got into the act, converting a couple of 3-point plays for the Trojans.

With less than three minutes remaining in the game, the Warriors came storming back. Robert Verbic hit a string of back-to-back 3-pointers to pull Marion to within one point with just under two minutes remaining in the game.

The Trojans in-bounded the ball and brought it across the half-court line, when Verbic and a host of Warriors batted the ball away and Marion gained possession with less than a minute to play.

Moddlemog called a timeout with 18 seconds left and the Warriors talked over strategy.

With five seconds remaining in the game, Brian Bina’s jumper rimmed out and the ball bounced on the floor as the buzzer sounded.

“I was calling an (isolation) play,” Moddlemog said. “We still got a decent shot. If the ball doesn’t get tipped one time, do we get it with two seconds? A whole lot of ‘what ifs’ and ‘could’ve beens.”

Alan Vogel finished with 11 points to lead the Warrior offensive attack. Bina dropped in nine points.

Seniors Braxton Skiles and Verbic both finished with eight points. Keith Dudley added seven points.

Chase County-Marion’s Jason Matz had 18 points in the first half to lead the Warriors to a 63-37 win over Chase County Thursday night at Marion.

The Warriors took a 21-13 lead into the locker room at half and never looked back.

Keith Dudley had 15 points to complement Matz’s 18-point performance.

Overall-The Warriors finish with a 13-8 record overall.

“I guess at the beginning of the year we had high expectations,” Moddlemog said. “Did they get better-yes. I think we saw some growth and maturity. I’m pleased and I hope they had a great year.

“I learned you never count your players out. They’re just a great bunch of guys who are going to go out and play hard. Never underestimate them, because someday they’re going to step up for you.”

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