Marion girls win two-point thriller over Hillsboro

The Marion girls got a last-second put-back from Bailey Robson to claim a 38-36 win over Hillsboro Tues?day at Brown Gymnasium.

The win boosted Marion?s record to 10-3 for the season, while Hillsboro dropped to 8-5 with a third straight loss.

Playing their fourth game in five days, and coming off a tournament championship the night before at Centre, the Marion girls would have had good reason to gear down a notch or two in this non-league contest.

?I?m really proud of the girls,? said Marion coach Kelly Robson. ?We keep playing hard.?

Both teams battled, and both struggled to score points at the outset. A three-point basket and a pair of free throws from Hillsboro?s Tassanee Sanchez within 39 seconds of the tip-off gave the home team a 5-0 lead.

But Marion rallied with a 6-2 burst to take a 9-7 lead as the first quarter ended. Marion?s Kourtney Hansen scored six of her team?s points.

Late in the second quarter, Marion stretched the lead to 19-12 with an eight-point run over a 52-second stretch during which the Trojans committed four turnovers. Robson, Kirsten Hansen, McKenzee Remmers and Marshelle Mermis each contributed a basket during the run.

A traditional three-point play by Alex Ratzlaff with 11 seconds left cut Marion?s lead to 19-15 at intermission.

Hillsboro played its best quarter of the night coming out of halftime. Finally getting some offensive help beyond Sanchez and Ratzlaff, the Trojans? Abby Sechrist, Savannah Unruh and Sienna Kaufman combined for 11 of Hillsboro?s 13 points in the quarter.

It was enough to vault the Trojans into the lead as the quarter ended, 28-24.

?During the run we made, we got great stops, we got tips, we rebounded well,? coach Nathan Hiebert said. ?Offensively, we moved the ball, we got easy looks and we took advantage of them.?

After a Ratzlaff free throw increased Hillsboro?s lead to 29-24 to start the fourth quarter, Marion reasserted itself. Erika Hess followed her three-point basket with a pair of free throws to tie the game 29-29. The game remained neck-and-neck the rest of the way.

Hillsboro took its last lead, 36-35, when Sechrist scored off a nice assist from Ratzlaff with 1:42 to play. A free-throw from Kirsten Hansen tied the game with a minute left.

When Sanchez missed a shot with 40 seconds to play, Marion rebounded and Coach Robson called a timeout with 32.3 seconds remaining.

As time was running out, Kourtney Hansen missed a contested shot in the lane, but Robson grabbed the ball and banked it into the basket for the victory as the buzzer sounded.

Robson led Marion with 11 points, Sanchez led Hills?boro with 12.

Aside from the team?s third-quarter run, Hiebert was disappointed with his team?s energy level.

?I think (Marion) got almost every loose ball,? he said. ?They ripped away a lot of rebounds when we had a hand on it. Marion wanted to come out and win this thing.

?We had our opportunities,? he added. ?We had so many possessions that we just didn?t take advantage of. We had people wide open and we?d throw the ball out of bounds.?

Hiebert credited Marion for its energy level given its hectic schedule.

?I?d say if you look at it, (Marion) seemed a lot more excited, fired-up, energetic than we did,? he said. ?It?s about how we came out. I don?t know if we thought we were just going to walk through this game, or what.?

Coming?Hillsboro was scheduled to play a rematch game with Nickerson on Tuesday that will count toward league standings.

Friday, the Trojans travel to Pratt, then will host Hoi?sington next Tuesday.

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