Marion splits with Bennington

They say history repeats itself, and the theory held true as the Marion boys hung on for a 41-36 win in tonight’s home rematch with Bennington, while the girls met defeat at the hands of the Bulldogs, 51-48. 

The boys’ second straight win gives them an 10-9 record overall and puts them at 4-5 in league play, but the girls drop to 2-17 and 1-8 for the season. 

BOYS – It might have been the ugliest win yet this season, but Marion is doubtless grateful to have edged Bennington in a hard-fought defensive battle that saw a score of just 6-5, Bulldogs, at the end of the first quarter.

The second quarter was somewhat improved, with the Warriors out-scoring Bennington, 12-7. But nine of those points came from perimeter shots, courtesy of Jacob Harper and Jordan Hett, and the rest came at the line, as Marion struggled to score inside against a larger and very aggressive Bulldog defense. The Warriors held a 17-13 lead at the break.

Hett finally found the spark inside at the start of the third quarter, following up two free throws with back-to-back baskets that gave Marion an eight-point lead. But Bennington would come up with a six-point scoring burst before Mikael Antoszyk broke the trend with a three-pointer. Marion still hung on to a 28-24 advantage at the end of the period.

Both teams traded baskets to begin the final quarter, until the Bulldogs tied it up, 32-32, with 3:35 left to play. Scott Jones scored inside for the lead, and Bennington again earned the tie at 2:49. 

But every good team knows that to win close games you have to win at the line, and Marion proved it learned that lesson well as Harper dropped in seven of eight free throw attempts in the last 2:10 of play time to secure both the victory and a winning record for the Warriors. 

Harper led his team with 17 points, including six from three-point range. Hett scored 10, including a three-pointer, and Antoszyk added seven points, with six coming from beyond the arc. 

GIRLS – Similarly to last week’s game at Bennington, Marion came out on top in the first quarter, out-scoring the Bulldogs, 14-8, thanks in part to two three-pointers from Erin Meierhoff and Whitney Gordon. 

But Bennington sank a three-pointer of its own and forced turnovers with a press to gain the advantage on the Warriors in the second period. The Bulldogs put together an 11-2 scoring burst in the final 1:28 to hold a 29-24 lead at the break.

The Bulldogs had a strong start to the second half, scoring 10 points to the Warriors’ seven, despite a basket from three-point range from Meierhoff to close out the third quarter and make it 39-31. 

Marion traded baskets with Bennington for the first four minutes of the period, hovering around a double-digit margin. With 2:10 remaining Katey Erhlich sank both her free throws to spark a 9-3 scoring comeback for the Warriors, but it was doomed to fall just three points short. 

Ehrlich led her team with 15 points and Meierhoff had a big night with 10 points, including six from three-point range. Kaelyn Thierolf also chipped in nine points. 

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