The Marion boys’ season came to a close Tuesday with a 64-60 overtime loss at Inman in the quarterfinals of the Class 2A Hillsboro substate.
Inman went on to win the tournament by defeating Berean Academy and Hillsboro.
The Warriors had defeated Inman Feb. 13 by a 58-53 margin. In the teams’ second meeting, Marion had opportunities down the stretch but came up just short at the end of the extra period.
The Warriors led a majority of the first three quarters of play, but momentum began shifting Inman’s way before halftime, and, after a highly contested third-quarter, Inman had the advantage for most of the fourth quarter before the teams tied the game to force the extra period.
The teams traded baskets to start the game until Marion gained distance with back-to-back threes by Zachary Stuchlik and Sam Zinn. When Eli Hett made a 2-pointer, Marion led 14-5. Stuchlik later nailed a buzzer-beating shot from near half court that made it 21-11 as the quarter ended.
Zinn made his second 3-pointer of the night midway through the second quarter for a 28-19 Marion lead, but the tide began to turn when Inman’s Payton Froese drained his second three of the period to ignite a 12-4 Teuton rally that left Marion clinging to a 32-31 lead at halftime.
The teams played evenly through the third quarter, and although Inman led briefly, the Warriors ended the period in front, 45-44.
Inman made a pair of 3-pointers in the first 2:25 of the fourth quarter to help build a 52-47 lead and force Marion to call timeout. The teams traded scores, and Blaine Mermis scored to bring Marion within 57-55 with 1:40 left in regulation.
A free-throw by Noah Dalrymple brought Marion within 57-56, then Zinn stole the ball and scored to push Marion in front, 58-57 with 31 seconds left. However, Marion was called for a foul, and the Teutons made one of two free-throws to tie the game with 20 seconds left.
Marion’s potential game-winning attempt at the buzzer missed its mark.
The Warriors scored just two points in the extra period—a basket by Evann Heidebrecht at the 2:01 mark. Marion possessed the ball with about 40 seconds left, trailing 62-60, but a turnover gave the ball back to Inman.
Two Teuton free-throws essentially sealed the game as Marion’s final two attempts missed the mark.
Zinn scored 18 points, Stringer 13 and Stuchlik 10.
“I’m proud of them, proud of the way they played,” coach Terry Edwards said. “You can tell by the look on their faces that this is a hard one to take. We were right there where we wanted to be at the end. We got a shot. This time we didn’t have the answer for their run.”
Stuchlik was Marion’s only senior this year.
“I’m proud of the kids, how hard they play and how far they’ve come,” Edwards said. “We’re going to miss (Zachary). Fortunately it’s only (Zachary) that leaves.”
Marion finishes with an overall record of 8-13, concluding a season in which Edwards transitioned from assistant coach to head coach in early January.
“It’s been fun, and I really appreciate the way the kids responded,” Edwards said. “They bought into the change, and they worked hard.”