The seventh-seeded Marion boys gave second-seeded Council Grove all it could handle in Tuesday’s Class 3A sub-state quarterfinal game but came up just short, 50-43.
Whereas in the teams’ first meeting last month, Marion got sped up in a game that ended with a running clock and a 64-38 Warrior loss, this time, Marion controlled the tempo of the game and forced the Braves to play in the half court.
The Warriors fell behind from the start, however, making just two of 10 attempts in the first quarter and turning the ball over six times. Peyton Heidebrecht added three free-throws, and the quarter ended with the Braves in front, 16-8.
Council Grove scored 14 seconds into the second quarter to take a double-digit lead, but the Warriors used a 9-3 run to close the gap to 21-17 when Zachary Stuchlik made his second three-pointer of the night. At halftime, Council Grove led, 27-21.
Each team scored 12 points in the third quarter. Stuchlik scored four points in the period to pave the way, and Sam Zinn nailed a buzzer-beating two-pointer to bring Marion within 39-33 at the final break.
The Warriors outscored Council Grove, 4-1, at the free-throw line in the first 3:12 to close the gap to 40-37 with 4:48 to play, but after that, the Braves made three baskets in a row, including a three-pointer that extended their lead back to 10, 47-37, less than a minute later.
Mason Pedersen made a basket and one of two free-throws to trim the margin to seven, but then Marion made just one of its last five attempts from the field—a three-pointer by Evann Heidebrecht with 33 seconds left that brought it to the final, seven-point spread.
Stuchlik led the Warriors with 12 points. For the game, Marion was 14-for-44 from the field (32 percent). Council Grove was 21-for-61 (34 percent). The Warriors made 12 of 16 free-throws attempted (75 percent).
Marion concludes the season with an overall record of 5-16. Council Grove advances to face No. 3 Wellsville in the semifinals.