The Marion boys kicked off the Cougar Classic at Centre with a 44-35 victory over Solomon, while the girls were overcome, 45-26, by an unbeaten Hope team. The non-league match-ups put the boys at 3-7 overall but drops the girls to 0-10 on the season. Marion is scheduled to play again Friday in the next round of the tournament.
BOYS – Marion was strong out of the gate, going up 6-0 in the first 4:30 thanks to Jacob Harper, Jordan Hett and Mikael Antoszyk. Solomon finally put points on the board at 3:30, with the Gorillas’ Josh Burdine slamming home the dunk. Zac Robson scored on a putback Warriors, but Solomon went on to score six unanswered points to tie the game at the end of the first quarter.
Hett reasserted the Warriors’ dominance with a driving layup to start the second period. Jones followed it up with a basket off a rebound, Harper scored at 6:18 and Jones put more points up off a Hett assist to give Marion a 16-8 lead at 5:21. Taylor Heidebrecht scored off an Antoszyk assist and Hett and Harper combined for four more points in the last 3:18 of the half, helping the Warriors to outscore Solomon, 14-4, in the third quarter and give Marion a 22-12 lead at the break.
Marion looked a little shaky to start the second half, allowing Solomon a six-point scoring spurt in the first two minutes. But Hett scored a layup to swing momentum back the Warriors’ way and Jones scored inside off a Hett assist at 3:13 to gain a 26-20 lead. In the last two minutes of the quarter Harper made a free throw to complete a three-point play and Hett and Ethan Hett each scored to put Marion on top, 33-23, at the end of the third quarter.
The Warriors won in the fourth quarter at the line, making eight of their 10 points from free throws. Heidebrecht proved the exception, scoring midway through the quarter to give Marion a 39-27 lead. Solomon scored six points on free throws, outscoring Marion by two points in the fourth quarter. But they could not make up for the Warriors’ strong third quarter.
Jordan Hett and Harper led Marion with 13 and 12 points, respectively, with Jones contributing six.
GIRLS – The Warriors kept pace with Hope in the first quarter, allowing the Lions just a 12-9 lead at the end of the period. Katey Ehrlich started the second quarter well with a basket at 7:41, and Kaelyn Thierolf scored 1:20 later to give Marion a 13-12 lead. Hope put up four points to go back on top before Ehrlich scored again to make it 16-15.
But then Marion allowed 11 unanswered points in the next three minutes of play time to give Hope a 27-15 lead. Kelli Hess finally made two free throws at 1:24, but the damage would prove to be too severe for the Warriors to overcome. The Lions scored twice more to make it 31-17 going into the break.
Hope came out after the break and outscored Marion 6-1 in the first four minutes, going up 37-18. Ehrlich drained a three-pointer with four minutes left, but the Lions scored six more points to combine for 12 in the third quarter, compared to Marion’s four.
Both teams struggled to find the basket in the final period, with 4:40 ticking off the play clock before Hess sank a basket from beyond the arc. Hope scored with eight seconds left to make it 45-24, but Erin Meierhoff sank a long jump shot at the buzzer for the final score. Ehrlich and Hess led the Warriors in scoring with seven points each.