In a dramatic finish to their tournament winning streak, the Marion boys defeated Hope in a 43-40 victory to seize the championship plaque for the Centre Tourney. Two Marion players, Jordan Hett and Jordan Versch, were chosen for the All-Tournament team.
?The first quarter was probably our best quarter of the year,? said Marion coach Jeff McMillan. ?We played so well in the first quarter that we were able to hang on.?
The Warriors had an extremely strong first half, hitting their rhythm and forcing the Lions to make mistakes that led to Warriors points. The Warriors racked up 21 points in the first quarter and 11 in the second quarter, thanks in part to 15 points contributed by Hett in the first half of the game.
Hett made two long three-point shots to put the Warriors ahead, 21-5, with seconds left on the clock before the first break. He came back out on the court and nailed another three-pointer, which was followed less than a minute later by Versch to give the Warriors what would be their biggest lead of the game, 26-5.
In addition to successful shooting in the first half, the Warriors also played strong defense to hold the Lions to only 14 points at halftime. Jacob Harper hit a three-point buzzer shot to give the Warriors a 32-14 lead at the end of the half.
What had been a lake of basketball magic in the first half of the ball game almost completely dried up for the Warriors in the third quarter. The Warriors managed only three points in the entire third quarter, shaken by poor shooting and a galvanized Lions who forced turnovers and started hitting shots.
The Lions held the Warriors scoreless for an 11-point scoring run in the first few minutes of the third quarter, before allowing a two-point basket from Versch. Despite facing such a formidable deficit in the first half of the game, the Cougars came back to within three points with 1:20 left.
With mere seconds left on the clock, Mikael Antoszyk, Harper, and Versch made key free throws for the Warriors, earning the five points needed to hang on to their lead and edge out the Lions for the victory.
The Lions made a buzzer shot to make the final score 43-40.
?It was great to win,? said Warriors? senior Versch. ?We lost confidence in the third quarter, and we just came back and we knew we needed to hit some shots, and we did.?
Hett was in the double digits for the Warriors with 15 points, and the Lions? Shilo Goracke hit the double digits with 14 points.
The Warriors took down Elyria tonight in the final round of the Centre Tourney, 43-29.
Whitney Gordon started out the game with a bang for the Warriors, hitting a three-point shot to put points up on the board. Each team fought in a close battle to come out ahead, tying the game twice before the first break.
Amy Tippin hit a three-point shot with 2:41 left in the first quarter to tie the game for the Eagles, but the Warriors? Gordon and Erin Meierhoff sank baskets to allow the Eagles only a one-point lead, 12-11, going into the break.
The battle continued in the second quarter, with the Eagles keeping a narrow lead over the Warriors until Gordon made a basket with three minutes left in the half to give the Warriors a one-point lead, 20-21.
However, the Eagles came back to hold a 26-20 lead going into the locker room at halftime.
The intensity of the game picked up in the second half, with Meierhoff making a layup off a steal to give the Warriors the lead back, 29-28. Another Meierhoff layup made the score 31-28, and the Warriors were off on what ended up to be a 14-point scoring run through the end of the third quarter and the beginning of the last.
The Warriors held the Eagles to only three points in the third quarter.
A basket from Gordon with 4:50 left in the game gave the Warriors the winning final score, 43-29.
?I thought the second half we played very well,? said Savage. ?It was nice to see the scoring improve.?
He added that one of his players said in the locker room, ?This is how Marion girls should play basketball.?
Gordon was again in the double digits for the Warriors at 16 points, and teammate Meierhoff joined her in the double digits with 10 points on the night. Tippin was the only Eagles? player in the double digits with 12 points.