ORIGINALLY WRITTEN ANDREW JOST
After a disappointing loss at Herington Friday night, coach Rex Ostmeyer’s Marion Warriors were all business in their rescheduled matchup against Salina Sacred Heart Saturday afternoon, crushing the Knights 82-52.
“We scored more points than we’ve ever scored since I’ve been the head coach here,” Ostmeyer said after the blow-out victory.
Both teams started at an even pace, gradually working their way to a 14-point tie at the end of the first quarter.
But in the second quarter, Marion found a significant offensive surge from a unique source.
Freshman Jason Hett exploded off the sidelines, hitting 86 percent of his shots from the field and scoring 15 points before the end of the first half.
“Getting a lift like that off the bench from one of your reserves is a huge lift for you,” Ostmeyer said.
“He’s going to be a great player before it’s all said and done,” he said. “He already obviously is a very good player.”
Marion blew the game wide open in that quarter, outscoring the Knights 28-16. At the half, the Warriors led 42-30.
Jason wasn’t the only Hett lighting up the scoreboard, though. Nickolas Hett was as good as gold from beyond the arc in the first half, hitting all four attempts from 3-point range.
But as the third quarter got under way, things became a little tense for the Warriors. Sacred Heart’s coach must have told his boys they were going to a crafts fair because after the half, they starting making baskets like it was going out of style.
In just over two minutes, the Knights scored 12 points on perfect shooting from the field.
“It seemed like we almost traded baskets for awhile,” Ostmeyer said. “They came out just on fire in the third quarter.”
Sacred Heart’s stand was short-lived, though, and by the end of the quarter, Marion was unquestionably in control.
“The thing for us is that we consistently scored the entire game,” Ostmeyer said.
In fact, Marion never went more than two minutes without putting points on the board.
The final 8 minutes of play were nothing short of a victory lap for the Warriors, who outscored their opponent 22-5. Sacred Heart went six full minutes without scoring and never attempted a free-throw during the entire second half.
Ostmeyer, who was encouraged by his team’s performance, still saw room for improvement defensively.
“We had some stretches today where we didn’t play very well, and we’ve got to get the pride back on the defensive end of the floor and get our fight back,” he said.
Nickolas Hett led the Warriors’ scoring attack with 17 points, scoring 15 from 3-point range. Jason Hett ended with 15 and Joe Svitak 10.
The Warriors shot 48 percent from the field, hitting 29 of 60 attempts. They gained 16 points on 20 attempts from the line for 80 percent.
Sacred Heart completed 19 of 50 shot attempts from the field for 38 percent.
“I think we grabbed some more depth tonight,” Ostmeyer said. “Jason is probably going to be able to work himself into the rotation a little bit more.
“I really like where we’re at offensively right now-but we’ve got to get a little more pride back in every single possession on the defensive end.”
Following their game against Wichita Trinity last night, the Warriors, now 11-6 overall and 8-1 in league play, take a short break before going back on the road to face Council Grove Feb. 24.
Herington- After earning their biggest victory so far this season against Wichita Independent, the Marion boys’ basketball team laid their undefeated Cottonwood Valley League run across the tracks of an oncoming train.
On Friday, the Herington Railers upset the Warriors, 68-63, marking the team’s first league loss of the season.
The difference came in the fourth quarter when Marion sent Herington to the free-throw line 21 times and hit 16.
“That was the difference in the game,” Marion coach Ostmeyer said.
Even though the Warriors maintained control of the game during the first three quarters, Ostmeyer said his team’s defense was awful. To make matters worse, he said, Herington’s offense played exceptionally well.
“In the fourth quarter we couldn’t get a defensive stop, and they were hitting some shots from all over the place,” he said. “It sometimes happens that way.
“Before (Friday) night, we were leading the league in team defense, and there’s no way we should score 63 and get beat, but we did.”
Marion shot well from the field, hitting 22 of 41 attempts for nearly 54 percent. Of those, six of 12 shots were from 3-point range.
Marion connected on 13 of 19 attempts from the line.
Three Warriors scored double digits: Joe Svitak ended with 16 points, Jared Hett 13 and Nickolas Hett 11.
But the Warriors had 13 turnovers and committed 20 personal fouls.
“We gave them 21 free-throws in the fourth quarter, and when you do that, you’re not going to win.”
Wichita Independent-The Marion boys picked up what coach Rex Ostmeyer called their biggest win of the season Tuesday night against league-contender Wichita Independent, holding off the Panthers 58-56.
In their last meeting, Marion stole a 40-39 overtime victory from Independent. The Warriors have handed the Panther’s both of their two league losses.
“It was the best we’ve played against a good team in a big-game setting,” Ostmeyer said.
After briefly trailing 4-0 in the first minute of play, Marion stepped behind the wheel with a 14-4 run to close out the first quarter leading 14-8.
“We really got into a good flow,” Ostmeyer said.
As the second quarter got under way, Independent put a kink in Marion’s offense. The Panthers took off on a 7-0 run, regaining the lead, 15-14, midway through the quarter.
Through the rest of the night, both teams fought hard for the lead.
“We responded when they began to play physically,” Ostmeyer said. “Realistically, in the past, teams that have really gotten into us defensively have really tried to be physical with us.
“We haven’t always reacted to that very well, but we did a great job of it Tuesday night against Independent.”
Earning several critical points at the free-throw line, the Warriors battled back to a 23-19 lead at the half.
Following the break, the Panthers once again clawed their way up the scoreboard, outscoring Marion and eventually tying the game at 37 by the close of the third quarter.
Then, through the fourth quarter, the Warriors took the lead away from the Panthers one final time.
“We ended up at one point in the fourth quarter with about 3:30 left leading by 10, and it really looked like we had things pretty much in control,” Ostmeyer said.
Despite Marion’s best efforts, though, the game played out strikingly similar to the teams’ previous meeting-only this time, Independent was closing the gap.
“All of the sudden in the last minute they start hitting threes, and we missed some free throws,” Ostmeyer said. “Next thing you know, we’ve got a two-point lead with 10 seconds left and they have the ball.”
With a chance for payback on their home floor, Independent could tie the game or go for the win, but Marion didn’t allow them either.
Jared Hett blocked Independent’s final hope, and the Warriors recovered the ball as the final seconds expired.
Leading the way offensively for the Warriors were Jared Hett with 18 points and Tyler Stubenhofer with 11. Stubenhofer scored all 11 points on 14 attempts from the free-throw line.
Dale Vogel added nine points and hauled in a critical seven rebounds.
“(Dale’s) physical presence was definitely a key to allow us to get everything else to work,” Ostmeyer said of the 6-foot-3-inch, 240-pound junior.
“They have some big athletic kids-and we’re not the biggest team in the world, so it was real vital for us to have Dale step up and play.”
As a team, Marion had 10 assists on 16 made baskets, connecting on 33 percent of its shots from the field. With that, it was good for 24 of 42 attempts from the line for 57 percent.
Ostmeyer said he saw his team play with real character, heart and determination.
“It’s important for us to just continue to play with confidence and with effort, not worry about standings and that type of thing,” he said.
“(We) just go out and try to play a better basketball game every time that we put our uniforms back on.”