A defensive stand allowing Riley County only one three-point attempt in the last 37 seconds, sealed a 43-39 victory for the Marion girls in the first round of the Trojan Classic tournament in Hillsboro on Tuesday afternoon.
Two free throws by Bridget Lundy on the Warrior?s previous possession extended Marion?s lead to four. Lundy?s fouls shot were the first points scored since Riley County?s Rachel Rheaume knocked down a three to make it a one possession ball game at 41-39 with 2:15 left to play.
Marion had allowed the Falcons back in the game after taking a 40-31 lead with 5:10?to go,?courtesy of an offensive explosion by Julia Zeiner. Zeiner knocked down a three and followed it up with a driving lay up against the Falcon?s 2-3 zone defense, which had been giving the Warriors trouble all night.
At times in the second half, the Warriors tried stall tactics, playing catch near half court, to try and lure Riley County out of the zone.
With under five minutes left to play in the third quarter, Riley County pulled the game to 27-25 on a three by Tami Hall. Riley County tied the score at 27 on the next Falcon possession after trailing 24-16 at halftime.
The Warriors responded, ending the third quarter with an eight-point run. Lindsay Hett scored five consecutive points and Zeiner ended the third quarter scoring with a three. Marion went into the final stanza leading 35-27.
The game started with a 7-3 run by Marion and the first quarter ended 18-9, Warriors. Sophomore post player Whitney Gordon found herself in quick foul trouble when she was whistled for her third foul of the game only three-and-a-half minutes into the contest. Gordon did not see action again in the first half and fouled out with 3:09 left in the ball game.
Zeiner and Hett combined for 29 points. Hett paced the Warriors with 16 points on 3-of-4 shooting from three. She led the Warriors on the boards with five. Zeiner was 5-for-9 from the field, including 2-for-2 from three finishing with 13 points, four rebounds and two blocked shots.
Other scorers for Marion were Kayley Heerey (9), Kristen Steinborn (3) and Lundy (2). Lundy also contributed five steals.
Riley County was led by Kelly Thomson with 15 points and Rheaume with 10.
Marion (8-1, 3-0) advances to the winner?s bracket, where they will face Thomas More Prep out of Hays at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday. The Monarchs defeated Republic County 63-45?on Monday to advance.