Marion splits season-opener with SES

The Marion basketball teams split their season-opening games with Southeast of Saline Friday. The girls won, 40-29, but the boys lost a heartbreaker in overtime, 54-53.

Kourtney Hansen
Kourtney Hansen
Girls—It took awhile for the Warriors to find their rhythm, but in the end, Marion earned a double-digit, 40-29 victory over the visiting Southeast of Saline Trojans.

The Warriors trailed the duration of the first quarter, missing their first four attempts and finishing the period on 2-for-8 shooting for an 8-5 Trojan lead at the first break.

Marion started to heat up when Sam Richmond ignited a seven-point swing with a three-pointer, and Kourtney Hansen followed with a pair of two-pointers to push the Warriors in front, 12-8. At the same time, SES cooled, making two of 14 attempts in the quarter, yet still managing to tie the game at 15 by halftime, thanks to a three-pointer, a pair of free-throws and a tying basket to conclude scoring for the half.

The teams traded scores until Courtney Herzet made a basket at the 4:27 mark to start a 6-1 run. At the end of the third quarter, Marion led, 27-23.

Leading 31-26 with 5:46 to play, Marion pushed its lead to double figures with a 7-0 burst. An SES three-pointer broke a 5:38-long drought, then Richmond brought it to the final, 11-point spread with a pair of free-throws.

Marion was 15-for-45 from the field (33 percent), and made nine of 18 free-throws attempted. Hansen led all scorers with 13 points.

Evann Heidebrecht
Evann Heidebrecht
Boys—Marion suffered a heartbreaking, 54-53, defeat in overtime Friday, in a game that could have been decided in regulation.

The Warriors made just 11 of 28 free-throw attempts in the game (39 percent), including just three of 12 in the fourth quarter (25 percent).

Marion started the game shooting the ball well offensively. The three-ball carried the Warriors in the first half as six of Marion’s 10 made field goals in the half came from beyond the arc. Eli Hett drained two in the first quarter, including one at the end of the period to give Marion a 12-10 lead at the first break. Warrior blocks on the defensive end contributed to 3-for-16 shooting for SES in the quarter.

When SES went 1-for-7 to start the second quarter, Marion built a 17-12 lead, capped by a Sam Zinn three-pointer. Hett drained his third trey with 2:37 left in the half, and Zinn later scored a three- and two-point basket in succession to push Marion’s lead to 25-16. An SES basket made it 25-18 at halftime.

After making a pair of baskets, Marion cooled in the third quarter, enduring a scoreless stretch lasting 4:08. In that time, SES enjoyed an 11-0 run to take the lead, 31-29. But Chase Stringer and Zachary Stuchlik each made a basket to put Marion in front, and free-throw by Hett after an SES technical foul and a last-second basket by Stringer gave Marion the edge at the end of the period, 36-31.

In the first 50 seconds of the fourth quarter, thanks in part to another SES technical foul, Marion attempted seven free-throws, but made only one. The Trojans trimmed the lead to three with a three-pointer, then Marion missed two more charity shots. A Trojan two-pointer and a free-throw tied the game. SES later sank two threes in a 29-second span to take a 44-42 lead with 1:53 to play.

Stuchlik completed a three-point play to push Marion in front by one, 45-44, and following an SES miss, Marion got the ball back with less than 30 seconds to play. The Warriors got sped up, though, and turned the ball over. A late foul sent SES to the charity stripe, where the second of two free-throws attempted tied the game at 45. Marion got a look at the basket at the buzzer, but the attempt missed its mark.

The Warriors made the first four free-throws they attempted in overtime and led 49-47 with 3:11 to go. A back-and-forth battle ensued, and Marion trailed, 53-52 with 45 seconds to play but turned the ball over on its next possession. SES missed a shot but grabbed the rebound and Marion was whistled for a foul. The Trojans made one of two free-throws for a 54-52 lead with 24 seconds left. Stuchlik made one of two charity shots to bring Marion within 54-53 with 11 seconds to go, and the Warriors forced an SES turnover but could not get the potential game-winning shot to fall.

Marion was 19-for-42 from the field (45 percent). SES was 18-for-60 (30 percent). Stringer led the Warriors with 12 points. Hett scored 10.

Coming—The Warriors will host the Marion Classic tournament next week. Marion will play Remington Thursday.