The basketball teams from Marion and Hillsboro came together for their annual midseason matchup with both school claiming a win in games that demonstrated an extreme variance of competitive intensity. The Marion girls got a last-second put-back from Bailey Robson to claim a 38-36 win over Hillsboro Tuesday at Brown Gymnasium.
In the matchup of Trojan and Warrior boys, Hillsboro dominated a Marion team that was playing with two of its best players sitting out because of injury. Hillsboro jumped to a 12-0 lead and never looked back on the way to running-clock victory, 59-24.
GIRLS — Playing their fourth game in five days, and coming off a tournament championship the night before at Centre, the Marion girls would have had good reason to gear down a notch or two in this non-league contest.
But both teams played hard and both struggled to score points. A three-point basket and a pair of free throws from Hillsboro?s Tassanee Sanchez within 39 seconds of the tip-off gave the home team a 5-0 lead. But Marion battled back, including a 6-2 burst late in the first quarter to take a 9-7 lead at the first break. Marion?s Kourtney Hansen scored six of her team?s points.
Late in the second quarter, Marion stretched the lead to 19-12 with an eight-point run over a 52-second stretch during which the Trojans committed four turnovers. Robson, Kirsten Hansen, McKenzee Remmers and Marshelle Mermis each contributed a basket during the run. A traditional three-point play by Alex Ratzlaff with 11 seconds left cut Marion?s lead to 19-15 at intermission.
Hillsboro played its best quarter of the night coming out of halftime. Finally getting some offensive help beyond Sanchez and Ratzlaff, the Trojans? Abby Sechrist, Savannah Unruh and Sienna Kaufman combined for 11 of Hillsboro?s 13 points in the quarter. It was enough to vault the Trojans into lead as the quarter ended, 28-24.
After a Ratzlaff free throw increased Hillsboro?s lead to 29-24, Marion reasserted itself. Erika Hess followed her three-point basket with a pair of free throws to tie the game 19-19 in a mere 29 seconds. The game remained neck-and-neck the rest of the way.
Hillsboro took its last lead, 36-35, when Sechrist scored off a nice assist from Ratzlaff with 1:42 to play. A free-throw from Kirsten Hansen tied the game with a minute left. When Sanchez missed a shot with 40 seconds to play, Marion rebounded and Coach Kelly Robson called a timeout with 32.3 seconds left. As time was running out, Kourtney Hansen missed a contested shot in the lane, but Robson grabbed the ball and banked it into the basket for the victory as the buzzer sounded.
Robson led Marion with 11 points, Sanchez led Hills?boro with 12. Marion improved its record to 10-3 with the victory while Hillsboro suffered its third straight loss and stands at 8-5.
BOYS — A Hillsboro victory seemed inevitable within the first 5:30 of the tip-off. The Trojans nailed five of their first seven shots, including two three-pointers, for a 12-0 lead. A pair of Marion free throws made the score 12-2 at the break.
Without two injured starters, Tyler Zinn and Jack Schneider, the Warriors struggled for offense. By the time they scored their first field goal — a basket by Zachary Stuchlik with 3:50 left in the half — the Trojans were leading 21-4. By halftime, the score stood at 27-7.
Marion played its best ball in the third quarter. Despite seven consecutive points by Hillsboro?s Carson Herbel within a 55-second burst, Marion began to step up its play on both ends of the court. By the end of the period, Hillsboro still had a healthy 19-point lead at 39-20, but the Warriors actually won the quarter, 13-12.
Hillsboro returned to beast mode in the fourth quarter, exemplified by an alley-oop thunder-dunk by Austin Cross on a beautiful set-up pass from Loewen with 6:44 left in the game. Hillsboro?s long-range artillery kicked in after that with four more three-pointers on the way to a final margin of 35 points.
Herbel finished with a career-high 13 points while Darian Ratzlaff added 10. Mason Petersen led Marion with 10 points. As a team, Hillsboro shot 50 percent from the floor (23-46) while Marion managed just 17 percent (7-42).
With the win, Hillsboro improved to 10-3 while Marion slipped to 6-7.