Marion splits two at Bennington

The Marion basketball teams split two games at Bennington Friday.

Taelyn PagelGirls—Marion earned a 34-26 victory Friday.

The Warriors started strong by scoring 15 points in the first quarter, then managed just 19 after that.

Marion burst to a 13-1 lead, not allowing Bennington to make a field goal until less than one minute remained in the period. The first quarter ended with Marion holding a double-digit advantage, 15-5.

Kourtney Hansen scored the first basket of the second quarter, but Marion did not score over the next 3:36, allowing Bennington to draw within 17-10. Alli Molleker broke the drought, then Hansen scored Marion’s final two baskets of the half for a 23-14 margin at intermission.

In the low-scoring third quarter, Taelyn Pagel scored four of Marion’s six points, and the period ended with Marion in front, 29-18.

Bennington went on a 6-2 run to start the final quarter to trim the Warriors’ lead to seven, 31-24, but Marion weathered the rally and won by eight.

Hansen led all scorers with 17 points.

Zachary StuchlikBoys—Marion hung with Bennington for a quarter Friday, but in the end, the Bulldogs’ pressure proved too much for the Warriors in a 68-37 loss.

Marion trailed by two, 10-8, when Blaine Mermis scored at the 2:44 mark, then Bennington scored three consecutive baskets before Mermis scored again, making the score at the end of the first quarter, 16-10, in favor of Bennington.

Bennington opened the second quarter with a three-pointer, and, when Marion managed just two free-throws in the first 5:13, the Bulldogs burst to a 28-12 lead. Peyton Heidebrecht made Marion’s fifth basket in 16 attempts with 2:47 left in the half. Two Bulldog threes in the final 31 seconds built the home team’s lead to 34-18 at intermission.

Marion made just one of the first six shots it attempted in the third quarter. Zachary Stuchlik added a pair of free-throws, but by the midway point of the period, Bennington had built a 45-22 lead. By the end of the quarter, the Bulldogs led, 55-30.

An 11-5 onslaught pushed Bennington over the 30-point margin, putting a running clock into effect with 2:52 to play. Each team scored once after that, bringing it to the final, 31-point spread.

Stuchlik led the team with 13 points.

Coming—Marion will compete in Centre’s Cougar Classic tournament next week. First-round games will be played Tuesday. The girls are the No. 1 seed and will face No. 8 Peabody-Burns at 4 p.m. The boys are the No. 4 seed and will face No. 5 Elyria Christian at 5:30 p.m.

Additional teams in the field are: Centre, Herington, Rural Vista, Solomon and Wakefield.

The tournament will continue Friday and conclude Saturday.

For scores and updates during games, follow Janae on Twitter @janaerem13

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