Marion girls could realize dream this week at sub-state

Finishing the regular season with injuries to two key players, the Marion girls? basketball team picked up two road victories in two days. The Warriors beat Council Grove, 67-33, Monday and Smoky Valley, 66-51, Tuesday.

Kayley Heerey returned Tuesday after sitting out against Hillsboro and Council Grove because of an ankle injury suffered during a loss against Nickerson Feb. 16. Heerey scored 11 points, shooting 3-for-7 from three and dishing out three assists in 15 minutes of play against Smoky Valley.

Whitney Gordon sat out Tuesday night after tweaking her knee on ice. She will be ready for sub-state Tuesday.

?It will be really good to have everyone back,? said Warrior senior Julia Zeiner. ?It?s been kind of weird not having everyone out there playing. It feels different, so it will be good.?

Tuesday, the Warriors will enter the sub-state playoffs as the No. 4 seed and will play Neodesha in Marion. A long-time dream of the Warrior seniors could be realized if Marion can win the Eureka sub-state bracket.

?When we were in middle school we talked about how when we were seniors we were going to go to state,? said Zeiner. ?I think we can do it. It?s pretty exciting.?

According to Marion coach Randy Savage, the Warriors are going to have step up defensively if they want to get to the 3A State Playoffs

?They expect to go to Hutchinson,? Savage said. ?And we?ve discussed the defensive effort is going to have to pick up. Tonight, we didn?t play very well defensively. I thought it was a little bit ho-hum?In my opinion they?re good enough to get to Hutchinson, but they?re going to have to play defense every night.?

Offensively, the Warriors are clicking, averaging 66.5 points and 12.5 turnovers per game in the last two contests. Zeiner scored 18 points against Smoky Valley and 25 against Council Grove. Lindsay Hett has scored 15 points in each of the last two regular season games and Bridget Lundy has stepped up her scoring, averaging 11 points per game Monday and Tuesday.

Despite the offensive production, Savage stressed the importance of defensive effort being the key to post-season success.

?It shouldn?t matter who we play,? he said. ?We?ve got to play defense hard and well every night. You can shoot and be cold one night, but you can play defense every trip down the court. It?s a matter of wanting to.?

Marion finished the regular season 15-5, 8-3 in MCAA play.

Coming?The No. 4 seed Marion girls (15-5) will host No. 5 seed Neodesha (11-9) on Monday in the first round of the Eureka sub-state tournament. .

In other girls’ first round matchups, No. 1 seed Burlington (19-1) will host No. 8 seed Erie (1-19), No.2 seed Richmond-Central Heights (16-4) will host No. 7 seed Council Grove (6-14) and No. 3 seed Eureka (15-4) will host No. 6 seed Fredonia (7-12).

The winner of the Marion girls against Neodesha will play the winner of Burlington vs. Erie.

The girls’ semifinal round will be March 5 in Eureka. The championship games are scheduled for March 6 at 6 p.m.

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