State bound: Marion slides past Eureka 52-41

With Saturday night?s 52-41 win over Eureka in the Eureka Class 3A sub-state finals, a long-time dream came true for the Marion girls’ basketball team in reaching the 3A state tournament. But don?t expect the Warrior girls to be happy with just making it to state.

?It feels really good because it?s our senior year and we?ve finally accomplished what we?ve always wanted,? said Warrior senior Julia Zeiner. ?Now we?ve got to go to state and do well there.?

Marion coach Randy Savage said he won?t have any problems motivating his team to perform well at state.

?I don?t think there?s any problem with that — I think they?ll be relaxed now.? said Savage, when asked about how he planned to motivate the Warriors. “I think we?ll relax and play some good ball now. We?ve been pretty tight. They?ve wanted this so bad it?s almost been detrimental. You can see them wanting it just a little too much.?

Motivated is how the Warriors came out of the locker room following halftime Saturday. After trading baskets with Eureka for the first two minutes of the third quarter, Marion put together an 11-2 run over the next five minutes to extend its lead to 41-31.

?In the locker room coach kept saying how we needed to get going and there?s no tomorrow, we had to go tonight,? said Zeiner. ?So we just went after it and we got it.?

Eureka hung around in the fourth quarter, keeping the Marion lead hovering around 10. The Tornadoes relied on timely outside shooting from Taylyn and Ashlen Schwartz for many of?its second-half points.

The game started with Marion and Eureka knotted at five with 1:30 gone in the first quarter. Marion strung a couple of baskets together to end the quarter with an 11-7 lead. Marion opened up a 19-10 lead with 5:30 left in the first half. The Warriors saw the lead dwindle to 21-20 with two minutes in the half, courtesy of a Tornado 10-2 run. Ashlen Schwartz hit two threes during the run.

Marion closed the half by outscoring Eureka 5-2 for a halftime score of 26-22.

Zeiner led all scorers with 17 points and picked up six rebounds and two steals. Lindsay Hett finished with 14 points, seven rebounds, three assists and three steals. Kayley Heerey added 12 points, six rebounds, three assists.

Eureka was led by Taylyn Schwartz with 12 and Ashlen Schwartz with 11. Hayley Pitko had six points, eight rebounds.

Marion held the Tornadoes to 32 percent shooting from the field. Eureka turned the ball over 20 times.?

Savage thinks Marion is a dangerous squad going into Hutch.

?If we get a decent draw, we?ve got a shot at beating some people,? he said.

The Marion girls will enter the 3A State Tournament as a No. 6 seed and will play No. 3 seed Beloit Thursday at 4:45 p.m at the Hutchinson Sports Arena in Hutchinson.

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