The Marion High School basketball teams overwhelmed the boys of
Belle Plaine and the girls of Eureka Thursday night. The Peabody-Burns
boys handled the Eureka boys, but the PBHS girls fell short in a tough
matchup against the Belle Plaine girls. Both Marion teams earned berths
in Saturday's championship games.
The MHS girls made short work
of Eureka behind 13 first-half points from Kristen Steinborn and an
11-for-15 shooting night from Julia Zeiner. Marion opened up a 19-7
lead during the first half, running off an 11-1 run after the Tornadoes
used a 5-0 run to lift themselves out of an 8-1 hole. Kayley Heerey
buried a right wing trey with 2 seconds left in the frame, and 14
points in the contest.
Eureka played its best quarter against the
Marion press during the second frame, but allowed the Warriors to score
22 points, effectively ending the contest with a halftime score of
41-18. Eureka closed within 24-16 on a basket by Kathleen McKenzie, but
Marion used a 17-2 run to slam the door on the first half. Zeiner,
Lindsay Hett, Heerey, Steinborn, Danae Edwards and Kristen Geis all
scored during the decisive stretch. When Eureka showed signs of life
early in the third quarter, the Warriors lowered the boom with baskets
by Hett and Heerey in rapid succession igniting another stretch of
overwhelming offense. A basket by Bridgett Lundy made it 51-26 with
3:36 left in the third and, with Zeiner leading the way, Marion rolled
off 20 straight points over the final 12 minutes.
eased up when the tally hit 67-26 on Zeiner's 6-footer of an inbounds
pass from Heerey with just over six minutes left in the game. Emily
Hett capped the scoring with a 12-footer with 10 seconds to go, and
became the ninth Marion girl to register a made field goal. Steinborn
finished with 15 and Zeiner led all scorers with 22.
The Warrior boys had a tougher time with Belle Plaine, but
nonetheless led 30-17 at halftime. The key sequence came early in the
first quarter, when the Marion defense stiffened after allowing the
Dragons to climb out of an early 5-2 hole. Trailing 6-5, Eric Vogel
knocked down a short jump shot that kicked off an 8-0 run to end the
first. Elliot Hett followed Vogel's basket with a layup that
precipitated a Belle Plaine timeout with 2:53 to go in the quarter, but
the Marion defense forced jump balls on back-to-back possessions, the
second of which sustained the run following a floater by Mitchell
Leppke. Brian Fruechting threw in a hook shot with 1:30 to go, and the
quarter ended with MHS up 13-6.
Luke Gordon dominated the early
part of the second quarter, pushing the Warriors lead to 16-8 with a
10-foot fallaway jump shot and then to 20-8 with a jumper from the
elbow. Gordon also blocked two shots defensively during the sequence.
Two short range field goals by Vogel helped Marion blunt a Dragons
charge. Vogel hit a 6-footer that made it 22-10 and stole the ball from
an unwary defensive rebounder underneath the Marion hoop and put in a
layup that made it 26-14.
In the third quarter, Vogel figured
prominently in the sequence that gave Marion its largest lead of the
evening. He knocked down a tough shot after making a power move in the
post, then assisted on a Fruechting layup with a slick interior pass.
Belle Plaine dialed up its desperation in the fourth quarter and
outscored the Warriors 17-9, but never closed the gap within 16.
PBHS girls were outscored 24-6 in the first half?8-2 in the first
quarter?and did not find their rhythm until the final frame, when they
took the play to Belle Plaine and outscored the Dragons 12-4. Danielle
Savage led the Warriors with 6 points and 6 rebounds. PBHS was
outrebounded 43-26 and committed 29 turnovers.
The PBHS boys used
a 17-2 run in the first quarter to establish their advantage, and
carried a 23-12 lead into halftime. A 17-6 run in the third quarter put
the game out of reach, and the teams played to a 12-12 draw in the
fourth quarter. Jacob Simmonds led all scorers with 21 points on
10-for-14 shooting, and seven other Warriors tallied: Martin Hoffkamp
(6 points), Caleb Hilliard (6), Jacob Middleton (6), Aaron Topham (5),
Brian Wingert (4), Brian O'Neal (3) and Joe Zappone (1). PBHS recorded
25 steals and forced 39 turnovers. Simmonds 10 steals led the Warrior
defense gave him a double-double. Topham had five, O'Neal and Middleton
each had three and Zappone and Wingert each had two.
Thomas Lowe posted a 14 points, 10 rebounds double-double for Eureka.
Both Marion and Peabody have Friday off, and both play Saturday. Marion plays in the championships at 6 and 8 p.m. against Friday's winners.
The PBHS girls will play for seventh place at 11:30 a.m. in the
elementary school gym. The PBHS boys play for fifth place at 1:15 in
the main gym.