MHS girls runners-up to Centre in championship; MHS boys claim third

The Marion basketball teams wrapped up tournament play in the Cougar Classic Saturday. The Warrior girls fell to No. 1 Centre in the championship, 50-36. The Warrior boys finished third overall with a win over No. 3 Manhattan Flinthills, 62-60. Marion?s Katey Ehrlich eyes the basket as Centre?s Cacey Simons defends during the third quarter of Centre?s championship victory Saturday.

GIRLS?Marion kept pace with Centre at the start of Saturday?s championship game, but in the end, the Cougars lived up to their No. 1 seed by earning the victory, 50-36.

Makenzie Deines opened scoring with a basket 11 seconds in, and Kelli Hess answered with a tying basket just 10 seconds later. The teams battled back and forth until the Cougars gained some distance when Shelby Makovec followed a Cacey Simons basket with two free throws for a 12-7 Centre lead. Bailey Robson scored to close the gap to 12-9 at the end of the first quarter.

Katey Ehrlich tied the game with a three-pointer, but Centre surged 8-0 to lead 20-12 after Simons hit a three. Marion cut the lead to 20-16 when Julia Hall made a basket, but after a Shelby Makovec basket and free throw from Simons, Centre took a 23-16 lead into intermission.

The Cougars used back-to-back three pointers from Shelby Makovec and Amy Makovec to build a double-digit, 29-17, advantage. Megan Richmond answered with a three that brought Marion within 29-20 at the 5:37 mark. Centre extended its lead back to double-figures just over a minute later and maintained it the duration of the third quarter to lead, 36-22, going into the final break.

Centre surged to its largest lead of the night, 42-23, when Simons scored with 6:26 left in the game, but when Robson followed two Ehrlich free throws with a basket, Marion cut the lead to 42-27.

The Warriors began to turn up their defensive intensity and outscored Centre, 6-3, over the next three minutes, courtesy of three consecutive baskets by Robson to narrow the gap to 45-33 with 2:35 to play.

Although Marion continued to battle, Centre?s lead was too much to overcome. The Cougars made five of eight free throws in the final 2:13 to seal the 14-point win.

Robson led Marion with 10 points.

Ehrlich, Shelby Makovec and Simons were named to the all-tournament team.Zach Robson drives toward the basket during the second quarter of Marion?s 62-60 victory over Manhattan Flinthills.

BOYS? Marion led the first 3:06 of Saturday?s battle against Manhattan Flinthills before the Eagles tied the game and surged to lead by as many as 13 points. But the Warriors came back to win the game, 62-60, and claim third place in the tournament.

Marion jumped to a 7-2 lead after Timothy Knolla drained a three-pointer at 5:11, but the Eagles answered with a 12-0 surge before Grif Case made a basket to bring Marion within 14-9 with 48 seconds left in the opening quarter.

The quarter ended after a Flinthills dunk off a steal for an 18-9 Eagle lead.

Flinthills built their lead to a game-high 13 points, 22-9, to start the second quarter. Marion got back in the game with seven straight points when Case followed baskets by James Jones and Zach Robson with a three-pointer to bring Marion within 22-16. A Knolla three-pointer cut the Eagle lead to 24-19 with 3:49 left in the half.

Flinthills extended its lead to 30-19 before Robson and Taylor Heidebrecht combined for the final seven points of the half to narrow the gap to 30-26 at intermission.

Heidebrecht drained a three-pointer to start the third quarter to cut the Eagle lead to 30-29, but Flinthills twice extended its lead to five points, the second time after a three-pointer at 2:41 for a 38-33 advantage.

Knolla answered with a three-pointer 20 seconds later, and after a Marion timeout, Robson fired off back-to-back threes to give Marion a 42-38 lead by the end of the third quarter.

That was the spark the Marion offense needed, and Robson scored 15 of Marion?s 20 fourth-quarter points on his way to a team-high 29 points for the game.

The teams traded scores to open the fourth quarter until Heidebrecht scored two free throws after a Jacob Baldwin steal to boost Marion to a six-point, 50-44, lead. The Eagles cut that lead in half with a three-pointer, but Robson followed a Baldwin free throw with a basket for a 53-47 score with 3:52 left in the game.

The Eagles drained another three, but Robson answered with a three-pointer of his own 30 seconds later. Yet again, the Eagles made a three-pointer, but Robson answered with a basket that put Marion in front, 58-53, with 2:09 to go. Flinthills made a basket at the 1:51 mark to draw within three, 58-55, and neither team scored again until Robson drained two free throws with 17.5 seconds left to increase Marion?s lead to 60-55.

The Eagles made a basket with 10 seconds left and again sent Robson to the charity stripe, where two free throws extended Marion?s lead to 62-57 with 6.4 to play. Flinthills made one last three-pointer with 2 seconds left for the final, 62-60, score.

Robson led Marion with 29 points. Knolla added 13 and Heidebrecht 12.

Heidebrecht was named to the all-tournament team.

COMING?Marion will host Council Grove for homecoming Thursday.

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