Bennington?The Warriors brought intensity back to their game Friday at Bennington and won, 46-37.
?All we talked about the last two days is playing more competitive and more intense,? coach Jeff McMillin said. ?We knew we had to because (Bennington) had two pretty big boys inside that were going to cause us a lot of trouble if we weren?t intense.
?I think, for the most part, our level of competitiveness was pretty good.
?We?ve been doing stuff well but not competing, and tonight, I think we competed but it was pretty sloppy in a lot of areas. We?ve got to put it all together, compete and do things well.?
James Jones scored six of Marion?s 12 first-quarter points on the way to a 12-5 lead at the first break.
Bret Voth extended the lead to nine with a basket, and Zach Robson gave the Warriors a double-digit lead at 19-9 with a three-pointer at the 5:01 mark.
Marion enjoyed a 31-13 halftime advantage following a Robson steal and basket to end the half.
The Warriors? largest lead was 34-15 when Taylor Heidebrecht cashed in a three-point play with 6:26 left in the third quarter. But the Bulldogs used a 9-0 run to draw within 34-24. The third quarter ended with Marion in front, 37-24.
Bennington outscored Marion 7-3 in the first 4:44 to narrow the gap to 42-35 with 1:22 to play. The Warriors missed chances to score from the charity stripe but maintained possession by grabbing rebounds.
Heidebrecht cashed in four free throws in the final 35 seconds, and Marion claimed the nine-point victory.
?We probably put the ball in the basket and were a little more fluid in the first half,? McMillin said. ?(Ben?nington) kind of clamped down a little bit in the second half and made shots difficult for us.
?Overall, I was happy with the way we spread the ball around and moved the ball and got good shots.?
Marion shot 31.8 percent from the field for the game (14-44). Robson led Marion with 12 points. Grif Case added 10.
Moundridge?It took three quarters before Marion found any rhythm Tuesday against Mound?ridge.
Trailing 43-21 after three quarters, the Warriors came to life, scoring more points in the fourth quarter than they had in the previous three combined.
But the 28-13 effort was too little, too late and Moundridge held on for the 56-49 win.
Coach Jeff McMillin said the fourth quarter proved what intensity can do for his team.
?It?ll help now, seeing how poorly we played in the first three quarters and then what it can do for us just playing with a lot of intensity, how much it can benefit us,? he said. ?They can see that. That?s something they can see first-hand, and so I think it?ll help get the point home.?
Chilly Warrior shooting to start the game contributed to an 8-0 Moundridge lead before Taylor Heidebrecht scored off a steal at the 4:42 mark.
Zach Robson scored two minutes later, and Heide?brecht drained a three with less than a minute left in the first quarter, but Marion trailed 14-7 at the end.
The Wildcats extended their lead to 10 with a three-pointer to open the second quarter and maintained a 27-14 advantage at halftime.
Heidebrecht and Robson accounted for all of Marion?s first-quarter points.
Things went from bad to worse in the third quarter as Moundridge outscored Marion 14-2 in the first 5:08 to claim its biggest lead of the night, 41-16.
The Warriors answered with five straight points from Grif Case and Jacob Baldwin, but Moundridge led 43-21 heading into the final quarter.
Then Marion began to show some signs of life.
Timothy Knolla scored Marion?s first eight points of the quarter, including a three-pointer.
James Jones scored two consecutive baskets on either side of a steal by Robson. After a second Moundridge turnover, Heidebrecht was fouled and made two free throws.
Just 14 seconds later, Heidebrecht drained a three-pointer after yet another Robson steal.
Suddenly, Marion was within 47-38 with 2:28 left in the game. Grif Case grabbed a Wildcat inbounds pass that led to a three by Robson to bring Marion within 50-43 with 1:23 remaining. Heide?brecht made a basket with 30 seconds left for a 53-47 score.
Jones made the Warriors? final basket with 12 seconds remaining to bring Marion within 54-49. But Mound?ridge made late free throws before time expired.
Heidebrecht led Marion with 18 points. Robson and Knolla each added 10.
Marion shot 27 percent from the field (17-63) and fell to 0-1 in Heart of America league play.
?In the games we?ve lost, we?ve played hard, but we didn?t have the fight that we needed, and tonight was the same,? McMillin said. ?We came out in the first quarter, we were playing hard, but the fight didn?t arrive until we were on the verge of getting embarrassed again.
?It shouldn?t take the threat of embarrassment to turn that switch on. It should come with the opportunity to play basketball, and that?s just what we?ve got to work on.?
Coming?Marion was scheduled to host Berean Academy Tuesday. In the teams? first meeting Dec. 12, Marion won, 44-42.
Marion will compete in the Cougar Classic at Centre beginning Tuesday.