After suffering two losses to Bennington on homecoming night a week prior, Marion went on the road looking for a different outcome, but it was not to be. The girls dropped, 51-42, to the Bulldogs, while the boys fell, 67-55.
GIRLS –Marion showed improved penetration in the lane Friday night and rallied to within two points of Bennington in the final quarter, but couldn’t pull off the win, dropping the contest by nine.
The teams entered a back-and-forth battle in the opening minutes of the first quarter. Kaelyn Thierolf scored six of the Warriors’ eight first quarter points, but after a Thierolf basket at 2:58 that gave Marion a slim, 8-7, lead, the Bulldogs surged 7-0 to end the quarter in front, 14-8.
The Warriors found themselves in some early foul trouble, drawing their seventh team foul just 11 seconds into the second period. But the Warriors battled to within three, 19-16, following consecutive baskets by Kirsten Hansen and Katey Ehrlich with 2:04 left before halftime. Bennington, however, surged to a 23-16 lead at the break.
The Bulldogs built a double-digit, 30-20, lead on a three-point basket with 5:38 left in the third quarter, but Marion chipped away at the Bennington lead and narrowed the gap to 34-32 at the end of the quarter after Erin Meierhoff drained a three-point basket. The teams traded scores to open the final quarter, but Bennington bumped the lead to 43-36 at 2:54. The Warriors drew within 44-41 with 1:03 left in the game, but when Warrior shots refused to fall, Marion sent Bennington to the charity stripe, where the Bulldogs scored their final seven points. Kelli Hess added Marion’s final point from the free-throw line with 36 seconds left, but Bennington held the lead when time expired.
Ehrlich led the Warriors with 11 points.
BOYS – Marion let a double-digit lead slip away in Friday’s loss at Bennington, and the Bulldogs surged to a 12-point victory.
The Marion offense found its spark to open the game, capitalizing on Bennington missed shots to lead 15-8 at the end of the first quarter. The Warriors built a double-digit, 19-8, lead with 6:56 left before halftime when James Jones scored on a second chance basket. Jordan Hett scored Marion’s final nine points of the quarter, contributing to Marion’s largest lead of the night, 34-21, with 1:48 left before the break. But just when it appeared Marion was firmly in the driver’s seat, momentum shifted to Bennington’s favor when the Bulldogs drew a foul on a three-point shot and followed with a three-point basket with 40 seconds on the clock. A Bennington steal led to another score 13 seconds later, deflating the Marion lead to 34-28 at the half.
Bennington kept momentum rolling in the third quarter by scoring off a steal to narrow the margin to four, 34-30, but Marion maintained a narrow lead. Two Bulldog three-pointers brought Bennington within 41-40, and the home team capitalized on a Marion turnover to take a 42-41 lead with 2:59 left in the third period. Jordan Hett scored five straight points for Marion, and the Warriors clung to a narrow, 46-45, lead going into the final quarter. With Marion shots cooling quickly, the Bulldogs took the lead for good, 48-46, on a three-point play to open the final period. Ethan Hett narrowed the gap to 50-49 with a three-point basket, and Jordan Hett scored from the charity stripe at 5:13 to again bring Marion within one, 52-51. But the Warriors stalled at 51, not getting a shot to fall until less than a minute remained in the game. Bennington used a 12-0 run to build a double-digit, 64-51, lead with 1:10 left to play. Harper broke Marion’s scoring drought with a basket 12 seconds later, but following Warrior shots refused to fall until Taylor Heidebrecht scored on a layup with one second left. But the damage was done, and Bennington claimed the 12-point victory.
Jordan Hett led the Warriors with 20 points, followed by Harper and Ethan Hett with 13 apiece.