MHS nets 18-point win over Hesston

The Marion High School girls basketball team more than outplayed the
Hesston Swathers Friday night in Marion?the Warriors crushed them,
75-57. The Hesston boys flipped the tables in the late game, cruising
to a 70-34 final that saw both teams reprise the same lineups as
finished the JV contest?a 42-40 Hesston victory?for much of the varsity
fourth quarter.

Hesston unloaded a 21-4 run on Marion in the first quarter, and allowed
the Warriors just 20 points in the first 24 minutes. Marion trailed
41-12 at halftime, making "will a Warriors scorer reach double-digits?" the only unresolved question to be decided in the fourth
quarter. Luke Gordon barely crossed the line with 10 points, and Eric
Vogel came up just short with nine.

There was no moment that more exemplified the Warriors rough shooting
night (15-for-50, 30 percent) than when the last-second heave to close
out the first half was snared by the volleyball net above Marion's half
of the gymnasium. (Whether the official ball voluntarily chose to
remain in the rafters or simply lacked the momentum to escape was
unclear. After some encouragment from athletic director Tod Gordon, the
ball did return to the court in time to start the third quarter.)

It was more of the same from both teams in the third quarter, as
Hesston outpaced Marion 25-8. But when both teams' junior varsity
players returned to the floor in the fourth, the game turned back into
a contest. The JV game itself came within an eyelash of a Marion win,
when Mitch Cady banked in a last-second 3-pointer that was called back
on account of a timeout by the MHS bench with 1.5 ticks to go. The
Warriors ran a set play for Brian Fruechting, whose hook shot from the
top of the key narrowly missed the mark. After coming within an inch
earlier in the night, the Marion subs won the fourth quarter of the
varsity game 14-4.

Julia Zeiner led the girls' charge with 29 points, hitting 12 of her 17
field goal attempts?including her only 3-pointer of the night, which
put MHS ahead 15-1 midway through the first quarter. Having blown
Hesston off the floor in the first eight minutes, the Warriors played
out the remainder of the night as if the Swathers other shoe might drop
at any moment. But Hesston was never able to put its foot down,
throwing up a 19-for-63 (30 percent) field goal shooting effort.
Marion's offense undoubtably had a hand in keeping the Swathers
off-balance?scoring on just under 60 percent of its shots, not counting
a 19-for-21 night at the foul line.

Lindsay Hett's evening was perhaps the most efficient?if not the most
productive?of her career. She tallied 25 points, led the Warriors with
9 rebounds, and buried every single one of her eight free throws. When
Hesston pulled within 11 points late in the second quarter, Hett
answered with three plays that competely undercut the Swathers'
building confidence. She buried back-to-back shots?a long right wing
2-pointer and a longer left wing 3-pointer?then picked the Hesston
point's pocket to set up Kayley Heerey's drive to the basket, which
saddled freshman substitute Sam Short with her second foul. Heerey hit
both foul shots, giving Marion a 37-19 lead with 2:58 left in the
second quarter.

After Zeiner converted a layup-and-1 at Tavia Raney's expense, Hesston
finished the quarter with a 5-0 run to cut its halftime deficit to
40-28. The Swathers carried the momentum into the third quarter, which
began with a run that slashed Marion's lead to 42-35. But the Warriors
lowered the boom in the second half of the third period, rolling off a
13-3 stretch powered by Heerey, who scored a pair of free throws and a
3-pointer during the burst. She also demolished a Swathers inbounds
play, creating a steal for herself and a layup for Hett?all on the
heels of Zeiner's run-starting dribble-drive layup.

Zeiner effectively ended the game with Marion's 59th point?a layup on
the Warriors' first possession of the fourth quarter?but Marion showed
its respect for Hesston's ability by sticking with its first-string
players until the final horn. The Swathers likewise refused to concede
defeat, pressing to force turnovers and crashing the glass
(particularly at the offensive end, where they turned 18 rebounds into
20 second-chance points) but simply could not make its shots count.
Marion maximized its lead at 69-45 on Hett's steal-and-score layup, but
the Swathers managed to cut the margin of the Warriors victory under 20
on a last-second layup.

Heerey finished with 14 points, and Whitney Gordon chipped in 6 points and 7 rebounds.

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