Marion earns HOA title, No. 1 sub-state seed

The Marion girls earned a share of the Heart of America league title by defeating Berean Academy, 36-35, Friday at home in a game postponed twice because of weather.

Marion tied for first in the HOA with Sterling with identical 8-1 records. The Warriors’ only league loss was to Sterling in early February.

“I’m very proud of the girls and what they’ve accomplished,” coach Kelly Robson said. “This was not an easy year in the HOA. Many of the teams are quite good. Our games were very competitive, and this team figured out ways to win most. They just keep battling, and I couldn’t really ask for more than that. It’s been a wonderful group of young ladies to work with.”

Versus Berean, Marion trailed 12-7 after the first quarter and 18-14 at halftime. But the home team benefitted from a big third quarter, outscoring Berean 14-9 to slip ahead by a 28-27 margin by the end of the third quarter. Sam Richmond and Corrina Crabb each drained 3-pointers in the period.

The teams played evenly through the fourth quarter, 8-8, giving Marion the one-point victory. Kourtney Hansen and Alli Molleker accounted for all of Marion’s scoring in the final quarter, as each made a pair of 2-pointers.

“I didn’t feel we were playing poorly in the first half,” Robson said. “We may have been a little impatient on offense, which led to a few turnovers. I thought in the third quarter we really focused on taking care of the ball well and working patiently on offense for good shots. It was just one of those quarters where the ball went in for us a little more than it did earlier in the game.”

Hansen led all scorers with 12 points. Marion made seven of 10 free-throws attempted (70 percent).

Coming—As the top seed in the Class 2A sub-state hosted by Hillsboro, Marion was scheduled to open play Monday against No. 8 Hering­ton.

With a win, Marion will face either No. 4 Moundridge or No. 5 Inman Thursday in Hillsboro. The championship will be played Saturday at 6 p.m.

The other half of the bracket features No. 2 Hills­boro versus No. 7 Goessel, and No. 3 Moundridge versus No. 6 Herington. The championship will be played Saturday at 7:30 p.m.