ORIGINALLY WRITTEN TOM STOPPEL
The Marion girls wrapped their pre-holiday schedule last week with two wins in three outings. The Warriors sandwiched a non-league loss to Burrton with Cottonwood Valley League wins over Chase County and Council Grove.
Chase County-Marion won it CVL opener and moved its season record to 3-0 last Tuesday with a 62-35 thrashing of Chase County.
Both teams came out cold and sloppy, but Marion finally got on the board with 6:16 to play on a free throw by Brandi Peterie-Shipman. By the time the first quarter ended, the Warriors had catapulted to a 20-7 lead with Allie Maddox scoring seven points in the quarter.
But it was the Warrior defense that took the Bulldogs out of their game, forcing 12 turnovers.
“I was pretty happy with our defense tonight,” Marion coach Daryl Enos said. “That’s the best our defense has looked yet this year. We jumped on the traps pretty early, we denied a lot better, and people knew where their man was.”
For the night, the Warriors were credited with 22 steals, with Caitlin O’Dell grabbing seven.
Marion’s pressure paid dividends again in the second quarter, as the Warriors gave up only three free throws, one 3-pointer and one 2-pointer en route to a 35-15 halftime lead.
Enos said the large lead gave his team a chance to work on things in a game situation.
“We shifted our defense a lot tonight,” he said. “I thought that worked out pretty well.”
In the the third quarter, Peterie-Shipman was Marion’s primary weapon, scoring eight of the Warriors’ 19 points. Marion led by its biggest margin, 54-25, lead at the end of the quarter.
Enos credited the pressure defense and quick outlet passes on offense for increasing the speed of the game.
“This is the tempo we want to play at,” he said. “Obviously, we had a few too many turnovers (19 in the first half), because we want to keep our total under 20 for the game. We still have some things to work on.”
Balanced scoring was the theme of the night for Marion as four players reached double digits. Maddox and Emmy Bowers finished with 13 each while Peterie-Shipman added 11 and Amy Tajchman 10.
Maddox had four of Marion’s 11 assists.
“Balance is what we’re after,” Enos said. “We were patient on offense and I don’t think we took a bad shot all night.”
The Warriors hit just eight of 21 free throws while hitting 24 of 62 shots from the field for 39 percent.
“I was very happy with our performance tonight,” Enos said. “I thought we made great strides tonight compared to how we played last week at Inman.”
Burrton-The Warriors traveled to Burrton on Thursday for a game that was rescheduled because of last week’s snowstorm. Unfortunately, the wait wasn’t worth it as the Warriors dropped a 56-51 decision.
“The story of the game was our lack of intensity,” coach Daryl Enos said. “We lacked intensity, focus, mental toughness-or whatever you want to call it.”
Foul trouble was one result. Two of Marion’s weapons, Caitlin O’Dell and Brandi Peterie-Shipman, were saddled with foul trouble much of the night, and combined for just three points.
Enos said Burrton hit his Warriors with a full-court press that took its toll on the Warrior in the form of turnovers.
“Burrton is aggressive,” he said. “We hadn’t seen that level of pressure.”
Still, the game was tied 23-23 at halftime, leaving Enos optimistic.
“Considering how we played in the first half, I thought we were in pretty good shape.”
But Burrton took control of the game in the third quarter, building a 41-31 lead.
“We scored just eight points,” Enos said. “We had some calls that went against us, but that wasn’t what lost the game for us.”
Enos was happy his girls didn’t concede the game.
“We were behind by 11 with 3:47 to play but cut that lead to four with 27 seconds to play-but it either goes your way or it doesn’t,” he said. “Tonight it didn’t.”
Enos said turnovers were the main culprit in the loss.
“We shot 44 percent from the field and 81 percent from the line and lost,” he said. “That tells you the rest of our game wasn’t doing much.”
Toni Gordon and Amy Tajchman led the Warriors offensively with 10 points each. Emmy Bowers scored nine points and Allie Maddox eight.
Council Grove-The Warriors came back the next day from their first loss of the season to pound Council Grove, 74-48, in Marion.
“Council Grove is much improved over last year, but we came out and played a lot better then we did Thursday night,” coach Daryl Enos said.
The Warriors jumped to a 9-0 lead and were never threatened. Council Grove did cut the Warrior lead to five, 21-16 at the end of a hectic first quarter, but never got any closer.
The Warrior defense forced the Braves to play at a pace that exceeded their abilities, resulting in numerous Council Grove turnovers.
Marion increased its advantage to 38-28 at intermission and never looked back. An 18-11 advantage in the third quarter propelled the Warriors to a 56-39 lead after three quarters.
In the final five minutes, Enos gave some varsity playing time for many of his seldom-used reserves.
Leading the offensive charge for Marion was two girls looking to redeem themselves from a poor outing the night before. Caitlin O’Dell scored 19 points while Brandi Peterie-Shipman poured in 15.
As a team the Warriors hit 24 of 47 shots for just over 50 percent for the game.
“We have a number or girls who miss their first shot and quit shooting,” Enos said. “Our concern is when you’re open shoot it, whether you make it or not.”
The Warriors also hit 20 of 27 charity tosses in the CVL win.
“I’m still figuring out what kind of team we have,” Enos said. “But I’m happy with where we’re at.”
Enos said he had hoped his squad would be 5-0 going into the Christmas break, but he’ll settle for 4-1 and build off it.
“I’ve coached for over 20 years and I’ve had teams with more talent and less talent than this team, but I knew they’d find a way to win,” he said. “This team has to learn how to improve their mental approach.
Coming-Marion returns to action January 3 when it travels to Inman to play St. Johns in a game rescheduled from the Inman tournament.