Marion girls win Eureka sub-state championship

With Saturday night?s 52-41 win over Eureka in the Eureka Class 3A sub-state finals, a long-time dream came true for the Marion girls? basketball team in reaching the 3A state tournament. But don?t expect the Warrior girls to be happy with just making it to state.

?It feels really good because it?s our senior year and we?ve finally accomplished what we?ve always wanted,? said Warrior senior Julia Zeiner. ?Now we?ve got to go to state and do well there.?

Marion coach Randy Savage said he won?t have any problems motivating his team to perform well at state.

?I don?t think there?s any problem with that?I think they?ll be relaxed now,? Savage said, when asked about how he planned to motivate the Warriors. ?I think we?ll relax and play some good ball now. We?ve been pretty tight. They?ve wanted this so bad it?s almost been detrimental. You can see them wanting it just a little too much.?

Motivated is how the Warriors came out of the locker room following halftime Saturday. After trading baskets with Eureka for the first two minutes of the third quarter, Marion put together an 11-2 run over the next five minutes to extend its lead to 41-31.

?In the locker room, coach kept saying how we needed to get going and there?s no tomorrow, we had to go tonight,? said Zeiner. ?So we just went after it and we got it.?

Eureka hung around in the fourth quarter, keeping the Marion lead hovering around 10.

The game started with Marion and Eureka knotted at five with 1:30 gone in the first quarter. Marion strung a couple of baskets together to end the quarter with an 11-7 lead. Marion opened up a 19-10 lead with 5:30 left in the first half. The Warriors saw the lead dwindle to 21-20 with two minutes in the half, courtesy of a Tornado 10-2 run. Ashlen Schwartz hit two threes during the run.

Marion closed the half by outscoring Eureka, 5-2, for a halftime score of 26-22.

Zeiner led all scorers with 17 points and picked up six rebounds and two steals. Lindsay Hett finished with 14 points, seven rebounds, three assists and three steals. Kayley Heerey added 12 points, six rebounds, three assists.

Eureka was led by Taylyn Schwartz with 12 and Ashlen Schwartz with 11. Hayley Pitko had six points, eight rebounds.

Savage thinks Marion is a dangerous squad going into Hutch.

?If we get a decent draw, we?ve got a shot at beating some people,? he said.

MHS 54, Burlington 52

Sub-state semifinals

The Marion girls advanced to the Eureka 3A sub-state championship with a 54-52 win over No.1 seeded Burlington Friday night in Eureka.

The physical game was in doubt until the final 10 seconds. Marion scored three straight points to end the ball game, taking a 53-52 lead on Lindsay Hett?s put back of a missed Julia Zeiner free throw.

?It wasn?t planned,? Hett said. ?The Burlington girl, she didn?t get her butt on me. There was room to grab it and time to shoot it for the bank shot.?

Following the Hett go-ahead basket, Marion sealed the game when Bridget Lundy stole the ball in the Burlington front court and passed it to Hett, who was fouled. Hett sunk the second free throw to give Marion a two-point lead with 1.2 seconds.

Burlington threw up a desperation attempt that was off the mark to end the game.

Outscored 23-11 in the fourth quarter, Marion held off a Wildcat fourth quarter comeback that put the Wildcats up 52-50 with 20 seconds left to play. Marion led Burlington, 43-29, at the start of the final stanza.

Marion took the 14-point advantage courtesy of a third- quarter ending 16-4 Warrior run.

In the first half, Burlington began the game scoring the first four points. Marion took an early 8-5 lead with an 8-1 spurt. Burlington cut the Marion lead to 11-10 to end the second quarter.

Burlington took a narrow 15-13 lead with 4:35 left in the half. The Warriors tied the game at 15 with two Zeiner free throws and retook the lead, 17-15, on two Hett free throws with 3:50 in the first half. Each team scored four more points to end the first half with Marion leading, 23-19.

Hett paced the Warriors with 20 points, 12 rebounds, six steals and three blocked shots. Julia Zenier finished with 15 points, four rebounds and three steals. Kayley Heerey added 10 points. Whitney Gordon contributed five points and eight rebounds.

Marion shot 43.9 percent from the field, was 0-for-7 from three and shot 18-for-38 from the charity stripe. The Warriors had 27 turnovers.

Burlington was led by Madison Stewart with 20 points, 11 rebounds. Katlyn O?Connor finished with 12.

Marion ended Burlington?s season, handing the Wildcats their second loss. Burlington finished the season 20-2.

?Anytime you beat a 20-1 team, that?s a good thing,? said Marion coach Randy Savage. ?We played better man-to-man defense tonight. That?s an awful good team.?

MHS 67, Neodesha 42

Sub-state first round

After the Marion girls? final regular-season game at Smoky Valley, coach Randy Savage said the Warriors would have to step it up on the defensive end if they wanted to get to state.

Finishing Tuesday night?s sub-state opener against Neodesha with 18 steals and 10 blocked shots in a 67-42 victory in Marion, the Warriors appeared to be focused on doing that.

However, Savage thought they could play even better on the defensive end.

?It was better, but it?s not good enough,? Savage said. ?They?ve played better defense than that. It was a step in the right direction but it?s got to be better.?

Marion was led on the defensive end by senior Lindsay Hett, who finished with seven steals, five blocks and six rebounds. Hett knows it?s going to take the Warriors’ best effort to get through sub-state.

?We knew defense was the key throughout this sub-state bracket,? she said. ?We?re just going to try our best to keep playing great defense. Our defense is our main priority right now, then go off of that with our offense.?

Marion turned up the defensive intensity in the second quarter, using Neodesha turnovers to create easy baskets for Julia Zeiner, to jump to a 26-12 lead with 2:45 to play in the half. The 14-point advantage came courtesy of 14-2 run by Marion to start the second quarter.

The Bluestreaks closed the gap to six with under 30 seconds to play in the first half, thanks to an 8-0 spurt. Hett closed the second half with a pull-up, deep two with time ticking down, to end the half 28-20, Marion.

Marion broke open the contest, outscoring Neodesha 12-5 in the first 4:45 of the third quarter to give the Warriors a 40-25 advantage. Marion ended the quarter with a 20-point lead.

Marion scored five consecutive points in the final 30 seconds of the third quarter. Bridget Lundy scored the first basket by hitting a three. Hett followed, stripping away one of her seven steals and converting on the offensive end.

Zeiner led all scorers with 24 points and 11 rebounds. Hett had 13. Lundy and Kayley Heerey contributed seven. Heerey, along with Kristen Steinborn, had four steals. Whitney Gordon returned from injury to score six points. Chassidy Carlson had five.

Neodesha was led by Taylor Giger with 17 points.

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