Warrior boys finish CVL history with two big wins

ORIGINALLY WRITTEN ANDREW JOST
The Marion boys enjoyed a confidence booster at home Thursday night, manhandling the Chase County Bulldogs, 77-51, and closing the regular season with an overall record of 13-7.

Chase County controlled the tip-off and struck first with a 2-point lay-in by Jeff Kohlmeier. But Marion’s Tyler Smith quickly answered with two points of his own. After a Bulldog turnover, Jared Hett gave the Warriors their first lead one minute into the game.

After exchanging baskets, Nickolas Hett ignited a firestorm with back-to-back 3-pointers that ignited a 18-0 Warrior run. By the time the horn sounded, Marion had the Bulldogs’ ears pinned, 28-10.

Coach Rex Ostmeyer said his team set the tone early by moving the ball and waiting for good shot opportunities.

“We made the extra pass, which put people into rhythm,” he said. “That’s when you make shots-you’re not forcing things, and you’re letting the game come to you.”

But the Warriors had their heads in the clouds when the second quarter began. The team failed to hit a field goal until the 4:03 mark. Their only points came when sophomore Jason Hett hit two front-end free-throws.

“I think a lot of it was we relaxed a little bit,” Ostmeyer said. “We quit getting the ball reversal we were doing in the first quarter.”

A small spark in the closing minutes provided Marion just enough fire to outscore the Bulldogs in the quarter, 12-9. At the break, Marion enjoyed a 40-19 advantage.

Marion didn’t make the same mistake twice as the third quarter got under way-at least not exactly. The Warriors took off on a 9-2 run in the first 1:30.

But they scored only three points in the last 4:54, and the Bulldogs managed to break even in scoring, 15-15.

“Sometimes when you get big leads like that, you kind of quit doing what you did to get the lead,” Ostmeyer said.

“For the most part, I’m real happy-especially with the unselfish play for the most of three quarters.”

Content with a solid 20-point lead, Ostmeyer began clearing the bench in the final quarter, and the Warriors coasted their way through the closing minutes.

“A couple of times I think getting through those slumps came from getting some offense off of our defense,” Ostmeyer said. “We got some steals that gave us some easy shots, and then that kind of allowed us to get back in gear a little bit.”

Eleven Warriors scored. Jared Hett led the way with 21, followed by Nickolas Hett with 13 and Joe Svitak and Tyler Smith each with nine.

The team combined to complete 31 of 65 field-goal attempts for 48 percent.

For the Bulldogs, Kohlmeier racked up 21 points and Seth Schroer scored 16. The Bulldogs completed 18 of 50 field-goal attempts for 36 percent.

Marion’s league record improved to 10-2. This matchup signaled an end for the Cottonwood Valley League. Marion plans to join the Mid Central Activities Association next year.

Ostmeyer said the win would provide great momentum as the Warriors prepared to host Halstead in the opening round of sub-state play Monday night.

“We have a lot of confidence,” he said, “and I think we feel pretty good about ourselves offensively.

“Defense is going to decide whether we make any noise next week or not-we’re going to have to be able to stop people.”

Council Grove-The Warrior boys got off to a quick 11-0 start in their game at Council Grove Tuesday and put together a 29-0 run later on, winning easily 66-41.

“We really got into a flow offensively early in the game, and that continued to generate,” Marion coach Rex Ostmeyer said after his team’s 12th win.

Eventually, though, the Braves came tearing into the game with 12 points off four 3-pointers, and at the end of the quarter, Marion led 17-12.

Then, in the second quarter, the Warriors embarked on a scoring bonanza that blew the game wide open. Ostmeyer said the key was defense.

Leading 26-25 with four minutes left in the second quarter, Marion opened a 29-0 run that steamrolled through halftime and halfway through the third, Ostmeyer said.

“Basically, for eight straight minutes they didn’t score,” he said. “They hit those 3s early, and they weren’t going to make those the whole game.”

Nickolas Hett was the catalyst for Marion’s offensive drive, hitting three shots behind the arc and finishing with 20 points. He was followed closely by Jared Hett with 15.

The Warriors bulked up on statistics, shooting 50 percent from the field off 48 attempts and 54 percent from 3-point range by completing seven of 13 shots. In addition, the team amassed 17 assists, 28 rebounds and 16 steals.

“We were [mentally] really, really focused on defense ever since we lost to Trinity,” Ostmeyer said.

“We established ourselves a little bit better defensively in that little run, and at that point in time the game was pretty much over.”

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