ORIGINALLY WRITTEN DIANE MAYS
Marion beat Herington, 55-43, Friday, but this game was in doubt until the final period.
The Warriors led after one quarter, 15-10, but by halftime, the Railers had pulled ahead by one, 22-21.
The problem for Marion in the second quarter was their lack of offense, according to Coach Rex Ostmeyer.
“We just fell asleep,” he said. “We went through a patch there where we didn’t execute and started forcing things. We didn’t do the things we needed to do.
“Then I called a timeout and got into them a little bit,” he said. “They came out and went on a 6-0 run and closed the gap to one at halftime. They responded when I challenged them.”
By the end of the third quarter, and after several lead changes, Herington still clung to a one-point advantage, 34-33.
When Matt Rhodes hit a 3-pointer early in the fourth quarter and then sank the extra free throw after he was fouled, Marion suddenly found the spark it needed. The Warriors were leading, 37-34, and never gave up the lead.
Marion scored 22 points in the final quarter, 11 of which were free throws. Many Railer fouls contributed to Marion’s growing lead as the clock wound down.
Ostmeyer said Marion’s rebounding was bonus in the game, especially without the Warriors’ leading rebounder, Jason Matz, who was hurt in the first quarter and didn’t see any more playing time.
“I thought we did a great job,” Ostmeyer said. “I mean, we gave up a few long ones that are just anybody’s ball, but besides that we did a great job.
“Tonight truly was a group effort.”
Brian Bina and Alan Vogel led the effort, each scoring 15 points. The win improved Marion’s record to 7-10.
Marion 56, Independent 33
Marion boys beat visiting Wichita Independent in a fast-paced, defensive game Tuesday, Feb. 11.
Independent’s Austin Johnson opened big for them with a 3-pointer only 15 seconds into the game, but that was the only score they’d see until a little over a minute remained in the quarter.
Marion took over with a 17-2 run the rest of the quarter to stake a decisive lead.
Coach Rex Ostmeyer said his team’s play at both ends of the court contributed to the surge.
“We just put the ball in the basket,” he said. “We got some offensive rebounds. We actually were aggressive and made something happen.
“On the defensive end, we got in our half-court trap, and they didn’t execute real well against it,” he added. “We rebounded great and didn’t give them anything extra in the first half.”
Independent woke up a bit in the second quarter, but Marion still prevailed. After the Warriors opened with two points from Jason Matz and one from Eric Smith, the two teams traded points until the last minute. Matz scored two points again and this time Brian Bina followed with one to give the Warriors a solid 32-16 lead.
Both teams’ offense slowed slowed in the third quarter, but the Warriors maintained their 16-point margin, 41-25.
Ostmeyer said Independent adjusted its defense in the third quarter.
“They backed off of us a little bit and took away some of our penetration,” he said.
Marion came alive again in the final period. Two points each from Alan Vogel and Joel Versch, and a 3-pointer from Matt Rhodes, and a steal by Matz and layup by Smith, completed a 9-3 surge and a 56-33 victory.
Ostmeyer said his team had to do a couple of things to win.
“(We had to) guard their 3-point shots,” he said. “And I really knew we needed to keep our composure and play with confidence. I liked the fact that it was pretty consistent across the boards.”
Bina, Matz and Vogel shared scoring honors for Marion with 10 each.