Marion boys fall to top-ranked Swathers in sub-state semifinals

Zach Robson makes the second of two consecutive baskets during the second quarter Thursday. Robson led Marion with 12 points. The Marion boys came up short in a sub-state semifinal contest against unbeaten Hesston?ranked first in Class 3A?at the Marion Sports and Aquatic Center Thursday, 49-35.

After battling for every point early on, Marion faced a 23-10 deficit at halftime.

But Marion did not go down without a fight.

The Warriors gave the Swathers a run for their money with a monstrous third-quarter effort during which Marion closed the gap to five points and more than doubled its halftime score.

Hesston regrouped after that, though, and had regained a 10-point margin by the end of the third quarter. From there, the Swathers rolled to the 14-point win.

The game began with a three-point basket from Hesston?s Grant Raleigh, and Ryan Schadler added a layup before Grif Case got Marion on the board with a basket in the paint at the 5:12 mark.

After Tyler McCartney scored to put Hesston up, 7-2, each team had their share of missed shots. The next five points were scored from the charity stripe, and two free throws by James Jones brought Marion within 9-5. But the Swathers increased their lead with a three-point play and a second-chance tip in for a 14-5 advantage at the first break.

Raleigh drained his second three of the night 37 seconds into the second period, then Zach Robson scored consecutive baskets bringing Marion within 17-9 with 4:15 left in the half. The Warriors managed only one free throw the duration of the half, however, and Hesston held a 23-10 advantage at intermission.

The Swathers increased their lead to 25-10 with two free throws, then Marion got two points when Hesston was called for goaltending. That was the start of a 12-2 Warrior burst, fueled by the efforts of Timothy Knolla. Knolla drained a three-pointer then scored again to bring Marion within 25-17. When Knolla made his second three-pointer in as many minutes and Jacob Baldwin chipped in two free throws, Marion was within 27-22 with 3:34 left in the period.

But Hesston outscored the Warriors 8-3 after that to regain a double-digit advantage, 35-25, by the end of the quarter.

The teams exchanged a free throw and then a basket to start the final quarter. Schadler scored on three straight Swather possessions, increasing Hesston?s lead to 45-30 with 4:40 left in the game.

Taylor Heidebrecht scored, but Hesston answered with two consecutive buckets to lead, 49-32, with 3:05 to play. The Swathers milked the clock, and Marion managed one last basket when Robson drained a three-pointer with 8 seconds left for the final, 14-point margin.

Raleigh led all scorers with 16 points. Schadler added 13 for Hesston and Wyatt McKinney 10. Robson led Marion with 12 points.

Marion concludes the season with a 13-9 overall record.

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