Warrior boys maintain focus and defeat visiting Railers

ORIGINALLY WRITTEN ANDREW JOST
The Marion boys found a window of escape Friday night as they outplayed Herington en route to a 57-22 victory.

Preparing for the game, coach Rex Ostmeyer and his team carried one another through a difficult week following the tragic death of senior teammate Calvin Riggs.

“I really think being out there on the court playing basketball, whether it was practice this week or the game, was a nice getaway for the team,” Ostmeyer said. “It got their minds off of the other stuff that was going on.

“It was a safe place in a tough week.”

Marion jumped to an early five-point lead, but Herington was quick to answer with two scores of its own, making the contest 6-4 with 5:07 left in the first quarter.

Play remained close until Jared Hett nailed Marion’s second 3-point basket of the quarter with 30 seconds remaining, extending Marion’s lead to 13-7.

The second quarter followed in similar fashion as Marion steadily increased its advantage. Nickolas Hett came alive, scoring eight points in a little more than four and a half minutes, carrying the Warriors into halftime with a comfortable 27-18 lead.

Still, the real show was about to begin.

During the second half, the Railers were left shaking their heads in frustration. Not even a can opener could have popped the lid off Herington’s basket as the team fell into a shooting slump.

But give credit where credit is due. The quick and incessant pressure of Marion’s defense allowed the Railers only four points in the entire period.

“We’ve got quick kids and anticipate really well,” Ostmeyer said. “They can fly around a little bit and make up for mistakes if they get out of position.”

After that, Herington may just as well packed the bus and headed back up U.S. Highway 77.

Marion screamed through the final period of play with its most impressive performance of the night, finishing with a 19-0 run, their longest of the game.

Ostmeyer was quick to comment about his team’s fire.

“They have a lot of energy inside of them,” he said. “They wanted to get out and show everybody that we’re still a good basketball team through the tragedy.”

Offensively, six players combined for Marion’s highest-scoring quarter of the night.

“It’s a very tight unit-there’s no selfishness,” Ostmeyer said. “These guys really brought themselves together, and it showed when they played.

“We don’t have one guy or two guys who are necessarily the leaders,” he said. “We have eight guys that all know each other well.”

Jared Hett and Nickolas Hett led Marion in scoring with 14 points each while Tyler Smith and Clayton Chamberland added six.

For the game, the Warriors connected on four 3-point baskets and hit 8 of 17 free throws.

Defensively, the boys held their opponents to only four points in the second half.

“Twenty-two points in a game I believe is a school record for Marion High School as far as the defensive end.

“It’s just amazing the things that they’ve done, what they’ve been through. It’s a great group.”

The win moved Marion’s record to 5-2 as it prepared for Tuesday’s match-up in Wichita against Trinity Academy.

The Warriors will play host to Wichita Independent on Friday, then will square off against Hesston at 7:30 p.m., Monday in the opening game of the Trojan Classic in Hillsboro.

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