Marion girls open Cougar Classic with loss, boys win

The Marion girls dropped their first-round Cougar Classic tournament contest to White City 43-33, while the boys posted a 75-28 victory over Elyria.

GIRLS ? The determination was there Tuesday night, with the seventh-seeded Warriors battling hard on defense to keep their first-round Cougar Classic contest close, but the effort was not enough to hold off a 43-33 victory by the second-seeded White City Huskies.

Marion fell behind 6-0 early on two consecutive White City shots behind the arc, but Marion showed defensive pressure, and Erin Meierhoff put Marion?s first points on the board off a steal at the 4:20 mark. Kelli Hess sank a three-point basket following another White City turnover, bringing the Warriors within one, 6-5, at 3:41. Marion, however, would only manage one free throw the duration of the opening quarter to trail 10-6 at the end of one.

A Hess basket to open the second quarter brought the Warriors within two, 10-8, and the teams then traded scores. Kaelyn Thierolf scored four points in the quarter to aid Marion, with Meierhoff and Katey Ehrlich each cashing in on a basket. But the Huskies pushed their lead to 24-16 at the break.

White City extended its lead to double digits, 26-16, with 6:26 left in the third. Marion, despite some drives inside, could not get its shots to fall. The Warriors scored with 4:05 remaining in the third on a Megan Richmond basket, which ignited a Warrior surge due to relentless defense. Kirsten Hansen came off the bench with a steal and basket at 2:06. Another Hansen steal led to a Hess second-chance basket at 1:47 to bring the Warriors within five, 27-22. Marion ended the third quarter with baskets by Hansen and Hess to narrow White City?s lead to 29-26.

The Warriors surged in the final quarter, first on a Richmond basket in the paint at 6:35 to draw within one, 29-28. Meierhoff sank a three-point basket at 5:04 to tie the game at 31. However, Marion fouls repeatedly sent the Huskies to the line, with White City scoring 12 points from the charity stripe in the final quarter. A change in White City?s defense, coupled with free-throw shooting, put a stop to Marion?s run. Thierolf contributed Marion?s final points of the night with 50 seconds left in the game, but when time expired, White City held the 10-point lead.

Hess led the Warrior attack with 10 total points. The Warriors are scheduled to face sixth-seeded Solomon Friday. Times not yet announced.

BOYS ? The second-seeded Warriors held the seventh-seeded Elyria Eagles to just five points in the opening quarter of Tuesday?s first-round Cougar Classic contest and ended the night with a 75-28 victory.

The Eagles jumped to an early 3-0 lead, but baskets by Jordan Hett and Taylor Heidebrecht quickly shifted the score in favor of Marion. The Warriors never trailed again, going on an 11-0 run before Elyria managed a second basket with 3:54 left in the opening quarter. It was all Marion the remainder of the quarter, as the Warriors surged with 12 unanswered points for a 23-5 lead at the end of the first period. Tough defense contributed to Marion?s scoring effort as forced Elyria turnovers turned into points for the Warriors. Marion continued to add to its lead in the second quarter, aided by Elyria turnovers and missed Eagle shots. The half ended with Marion boasting a 24-point lead, 38-14. Ethan Hett, Jordan Hett, Jacob Harper, Zac Robson and Wiley Lundy all put points on the board for Marion in the third quarter. Harper contributed eight points in the period to pace the Warriors. The Eagles, however, managed only three points to trail by 43, 60-17, going into the final quarter of play.

Ethan Hett opened the final quarter with a basket before the Eagles surged with a 6-0 run. Then the tables turned and it was Marion?s turn, with the Warriors scoring 11 unanswered points for a 50-point, 73-23, lead after a basket by Timothy Knolla at the 1:54 mark. Elyria made two consecutive baskets before Morgan Wheeler sank the final basket of the night to seal Marion?s 47-point victory.

The Warriors are scheduled to face third-seeded Solomon Friday. Times not yet announced.