Marion girls capture first at Cougar Classic

Alli Molleker dribbles past a Rural Vista defender during the first half of Saturday’s championship game. Molleker scored seven points in Marion’s 49-42 victory.
Alli Molleker dribbles past a Rural Vista defender during the first half of Saturday’s championship game. Molleker scored seven points in Marion’s 49-42 victory.
The Marion girls’ basketball team went 3-0 in three days to win the Cougar Classic tournament last week, sealing the title with a 49-42 victory over Rural Vista on Saturday.

The Warriors endured a slow start offensively, enabling the Heat to claim an early advantage. When Marion made just one basket in the final 4:00 of the first quarter, Rural Vista enjoyed its largest lead of the night, 15-8, at the first break.

Marion scored the first five points of the second quarter, courtesy of Alli Molleker, Jessi Lewman and Kourtney Hansen, but the Warriors continued to trail.

The Heat, meanwhile, were carried by Lauren Campuzano, who scored seven of her team’s nine points in the quarter on her way to a game-high 22.

Hansen scored off a steal with six seconds to play, closing the gap to 24-21 at halftime.

Marion outscored the Heat, 9-6 in the first 3:17 after halftime, including back-to-back baskets by Courtney Herzet that tied the game at 30.

The Warrior defense clamped down, forcing turnovers on Rural Vista’s final five possessions of the third quarter. Marion ended the period with a 9-0 run for a 39-32 lead. Coach Kelly Robson credited Marion’s defensive success to a halftime adjustment.

Marion took its first double-digit lead when Lewman made a free throw, and then a basket 39 seconds later, for a 42-32 margin. The Warriors reached their largest lead, 46-35, when Corrina Crabb scored with 3:23 to play. The Heat trimmed the margin 47-42, but Herzet nailed a pair of free-throws to lock down the seven-point win.

“(Rural Vista) played the kind of man-to-man defense that Remington plays a little bit in our league where they’re pretty hard on the basketball, but everybody else is sagging off because they know we want to cut through the middle,” Robson said.

“They were taking away some of our cuts, but then we realized (that) if we’ll go hard to the basket with the basketball, they were almost getting out of our way.”

Hansen led the Warriors with 16 points.

Marion 59, Centre 31

Game 2, Friday

Marion rolled to a convincing victory over host Centre Friday in Game 2 of the Cougar Classic.

Kourtney Hansen paved the way for the Warriors with 26 points, including 13 in the first period to contribute to a 17-4 Marion lead at the first break.

Centre battled back by outscoring Marion, 13-6 in the second quarter, led by Kelsey Hett with seven points, five of which came at the free-throw line. Marion led, 23-17, at halftime.

A 15-6 Warrior effort in the third quarter gave Marion a double-digit advantage by the end of the period, 38-23. Hansen scored nine points in the quarter.

Led by 12 points from Courtney Herzet, Marion outscored Centre, 21-8 in the fourth quarter, bringing it to the final, 28-point spread.

“We didn’t play a very good second quarter, so it was only a six-point lead at half,” coach Kelly Robson said. “We didn’t really need to make a lot of changes, except just go be more aggressive against (what) I’ll call a box and one.”

Hansen led all scorers with 26 points. Herzet scored 12.

Marion 47, Wakefield 29

Game 1, Thursday

Marion opened play in the Cougar Classic tournament with a victory over Wakefield. Kourtney Hansen scored eight points in the first quarter; Marion led 15-4 by the first break.

The Bombers outscored the Warriors, 14-10, in the second quarter, thanks in part to a pair of 3-pointers. Meanwhile, Alli Molleker contributed six of Marion’s 10 points, giving the Warriors a 25-18 halftime lead.

Marion regained a double-digit spread with a 14-5 third-quarter. Five Warriors scored in the quarter, led by Sam Richmond with six points. Marion led the Bombers 39-23 at the final break.

Six of Marion’s final eight points came at the free-throw line, helping the Warriors to the 18-point win.

“It wasn’t our best, but we did enough to win,” coach Kelly Robson said. “Credit Wakefield. They played hard. When a team will play hard, they’ve got a chance to compete, and they competed with us. But again, our girls did the things they needed to down the stretch to win.”

Hansen led all scorers with 12 points. Molleker scored 10.

Coming—Marion (10-2) will host Council Grove Thursday. Moving forward, Robson said the Warriors will need to limit their fouls, but praised his players for their ability to make in-game adjustments over the course of the tournament.