The Marion basketball teams won their final games of the Cougar Classic Saturday. The boys defeated Wakefield, 52-37 to finish fifth in the tournament. The girls defeated Centre, 37-34, to win the championship.
Boys—Marion put together a solid performance in its 52-37 win over Wakefield Saturday.
Leading 6-5, the Warriors outscored Wakefield, 15-2, in the final 5:07 of the opening quarter, fueled by a defensive intensity that forced 10 Bomber turnovers in the period. Noah Dalrymple scored eight points to lead all scorers in the quarter, including three baskets in a 1:31 span. Zachary Stuchlik scored on a traditional three-point play to make it 18-7, and Blaine Mermis drained a three-pointer at the buzzer, extending Marion’s lead to 21-7 at the first break.
The Bombers cut into that lead by making seven of nine attempts in the second quarter, including four three-pointers by Noah Ghent. At the 3:04 mark, Marion’s lead had dwindled to 29-25. The Warriors stretched their lead to 35-25, but Wakefield scored the final three points of the half, for a 35-28 margin at intermission.
The teams played fairly evenly through the third quarter. Mermis scored four of Marion’s nine points in the period, which ended with the Warriors in front, 44-35.
Mermis scored Marion’s final two baskets within the first 2:51 of the fourth quarter. Wakefield made its only basket with 2:42 to go, then Sam Zinn and Stuchlik each made two free-throws to bring it to the final, 15-point spread.
Mermis led all scorers with 15 points. Stuchlik added 14.
Girls—Marion withheld a late Cougar rally to claim the championship title with a 37-34 victory over Centre Saturday.
Centre claimed the lead from the start with two free-throws by Kelsey Hett and went on to build a 6-2 lead. A 5-0 swing courtesy of Jessi Lewman and Marissa Jacobson gave Marion its first lead, 7-6, but Centre reclaimed it by the end of the quarter, 9-7.
Kate Basore scored nine seconds into the second quarter, and Centre maintained the lead until Kourtney Hansen made two free-throws to push Marion in front, 14-13. Basore scored 45 seconds later for a 15-14 Centre advantage, but from there, Marion outscored the Cougars, 13-4. Hansen led the charge with nine points during that stretch, and Marion led, 27-19 at halftime.
The Warriors outscored Centre, 5-4, in the third quarter. Alli Molleker and Taelyn Pagel accounted for Marion’s points in the period. Shelby Pankratz and Basore accounted for Centre’s. By the final break, Marion led, 32-23.
Marion attempted, and missed, just two shots in the first five minutes of the fourth quarter. Centre, meanwhile, enjoyed an 11-0 run, capped by a three-pointer by Katie Marler that gave the Cougars the lead, 34-32, with 2:39 to play.
Jacobson scored a game-tying basket 20 seconds later, then Pagel and Sam Richmond accounted for Marion’s final three points at the charity stripe.
Hansen led the Warriors with 13 points. Basore led Centre with 16.
Coming—The Marion boys will play Belle Plaine Monday at Wichita Trinity at 7 p.m. in a game rescheduled from Dec. 17. Both Warrior teams will be in action Friday at Council Grove.
For scores and updates during games, follow Janae on Twitter @janaerem13