Marion sweeps opening round games of Cougar Classic

After twice being postponed because of wintry weather, the Centre tournament got underway Friday.

The Marion basketball teams swept their first-round opponents. The second-seeded Warrior girls defeated No. 7 Solomon, 61-23. The fifth-seeded Marion boys defeated No. 4 Rural Vista, 55-39.

Erika Hess shoots for two against Solomon Friday. Hess scored eight points in Marion?s 61-23 win.Girls?Marion kicked off the Cougar Classic with a decisive, 61-23, victory over Solomon Friday.

The Warriors found success on both ends of the floor, shooting nearly 54 percent from the field (28-52), while limiting Solomon to just 24 percent shooting (7-29).

Marion made the game?s first two baskets, but then the Gorillas made the first two shots they attempted?a three- and two-point basket?to take the lead, 5-4.

Those were Solomon?s final points of the quarter, as the Gorillas went 0-for-3 over the final six minutes of the period. Marion?s defense forced 15 Gorilla turnovers in the first quarter, leaving Solomon with few opportunities to put up a shot.

Elizabeth Meyer looks to pass the ball against Solomon Friday. Meyer scored 10 points in Marion?s 61-23 win.Meanwhile, the Warrior offense burst to the first break with 19 unanswered points. Five Warriors contributed to the effort, with Kourtney Hansen leading the way with six points. Marion led, 23-5, at the end of the first quarter.

Solomon made only one field goal in the second quarter and added five points at the charity stripe. Bailey Robson led Marion?s scoring effort in the period with four points. By halftime, Marion?s lead was 36-12.

The Warriors continued to build their lead in the third quarter. Kourtney Hansen scored six points in a 2:18 stretch, and by the final break, the Warriors were in front by 30, 50-20. Robson, Kourtney Hansen and Kristen Herzet scored in succession to open the final period before Coach Kelly Robson cleared his bench. The Warriors built to their largest lead at the end, 61-23.

Kourtney Hansen led all scorers with 16 points. Elizabeth Meyer added 10.

Nicholas Stuchlik shoots for two against Rural Vista Friday. Stuchlik scored four points in Marion?s 55-39 win.Boys?Marion cruised to a 55-39 victory over Rural Vista to start the Cougar Classic Friday.

The Warriors shot around 44 percent from the field in the game (20-45), while limiting Rural Vista to around 38 percent (18-48).

The teams battled back and forth in the opening period. The Heat took a 6-2 lead, but just as quickly, Marion claimed it, 8-6. The Warriors led, 12-8, after Tyler Zinn scored twice, and the teams traded baskets the rest of the way, giving Marion a 14-12 lead at the first break.

Marion went on a 7-0 run to start the second quarter, and led, 21-16, with 5:00 to play in the first half. From there, Mason Pedersen scored to ignite a 16-2 scoring frenzy to conclude the half. Fittingly, Pedersen capped the effort with a three-pointer, giving him eight points during that stretch, and Marion, a 37-18 halftime lead.

Marion outscored the Heat 14-11 in the third quarter. Zinn scored Marion?s first five points of the period. Later, Peyton Heidebrecht and Dylan Pippin scored in succession for a 46-26 margin. Zinn scored on a traditional three-point play and a buzzer-beating two-pointer in the final 1:41, giving Marion a 51-29 margin heading into the final break.

Mason Pedersen drives into the lane against Rural Vista Friday. Pedersen scored 11 points in Marion?s 55-39 win.Nicholas Stuchlik and Zinn each made a pair of free throws in the first 1:30 of the fourth quarter, but then Marion went into cruise-control mode and did not score again. Rural Vista took advantage with a 10-0 run to end the game, bringing the final margin to 55-39.

Zinn led the Warriors with 26 points. Pedersen added 11.

Coming?The tournament continues Saturday. The Marion girls will face Wakefield in the semifinals at 5 p.m. The boys will face Sacred Heart in a semifinal game at 6:30 p.m.

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