The Marion girls? basketball team finished as the 3A state runner up with a 56-45 loss to Thomas More Prep in the state championship game Saturday in Hutchinson.
Even though the Warriors fell short of the 3A state championship, they don?t think of the trip to Hutch as a failure.
?I don?t think we fell short,? said Marion senior Lindsay Hett, who played the state championship game on her 18th birthday. ?We?re here, we?re champions in our hearts, and we played a great game.?
Marion senior Julia Zeiner said: ?Second in state, that?s still a great accomplishment. We did good throughout the season and kept getting better and better each week and just kept pushing throughout the whole time.?
With approximately three minutes left to play in the fourth quarter, Marion cut the Thomas More Prep lead to 41-40 with a Whitney Gordon put back of a missed Kayley Heerey three. That?s when the Monarchs caught fire.
TMP built a 49-42 lead in the next minute courtesy of two three-point baskets. Thomas More Prep finished out the game knocking down 9-of-10 free throws to seal the victory and the state title.
?That was tough when everything they put up went in,? Zeiner said. ?We knew we had to keep playing hard and we couldn?t give up, we couldn?t just die. We had to keep going there.?
Marion played from behind for most of the game, trailing by as much as 11 in the second quarter. Every time the Warriors worked themselves back into the game, TMP would make a run.
?We needed some shots to fall,? said Marion coach Randy Savage. ?I thought we played very well defensively. We held them to 34 percent shooting. We needed two or three of them to bounce in that didn?t.?
The Monarchs? Rachel Adams led all scorers with 18 points, seven rebounds. Jessa Stramel had 13 points.
Marion was led by Zeiner with 12 points, six rebounds. Heerey finished with 10 points, five rebounds. Hett had 11 points, seven rebounds, three assists. Gordon scored seven points and grabbed nine rebounds.
Marion finished the season 20-6 overall, 8-3 in the MCAA.
MHS 42, Jefferson Co. North 41
For the second time in eight days, the Marion girls? basketball team knocked off a one-loss team in the closing seconds.
March 4, the Warriors upset 20-1 Burlington, 54-52, in the semifinal round of the 3A Eureka sub-state tournament in Eureka.
Friday, No. 6 seeded Marion defeated No. 2 seeded Winchester-Jefferson County North (23-1), 42-41, in the semifinal round of the 3A state tournament in Hutchinson.
Senior Julia Zeiner said Marion likes the underdog role.
?People don?t expect Marion to come and do this, and we do,? Zeiner said. ?It?s nice coming out of nowhere.?
?We?re used to playing Hesston, Hillsboro, Collegiate,? said Marion coach Randy Savage. ?We?re prepared to play good teams.?
The go-ahead point against the Chargers was scored by Lindsay Hett. The senior guard knocked down the game-winning free throw with 11.6 seconds left in the game. Going to the line, Hett had only one thing on her mind.
?I need to make these two free throws,? Hett said. ?I was just trying to control the adrenaline rush. Just trying to take deep breaths.?
Following Hett?s made free throw and a Charger timeout, the collective Marion faithful gasped for the last 4.4 seconds as Jefferson County North?s Jordan Kramer drove to the basket and shook free for long enough to get off a shot. It bounced high off the glass and into the hands of Marion as the buzzer sounded.
Kramer was 10-for-20 from the field for 24 points before the final attempt.
?We knew they?d go to No. 3 (Kramer),? Savage said. ?That was pretty obvious.?
With 57 seconds left in the game and a 41-40 Marion advantage, Zeiner picked up her fifth foul during a hustle play for a loose ball under the Marion basket. Zeiner watched her teammates pull out the win from the bench.
?I had faith in them, I knew they could do it,? Zeiner said. ?It?s tough sitting there and knowing you can?t do anything, but we won so it?s all good.?
Zeiner and Hett combined for 12 points in the last five minutes to come back from a 35-30 deficit. A three by Zeiner with 3:25 moved the Warriors within 37-35. Hett scored a layup with 1:38 remaining to give the Warriors a 41-40 advantage, Marion?s first lead since the 1:20 mark in the third quarter.
The fourth quarter comeback was the second of the game for the Warriors. Kayley Heerey sparked a 6-1 run in the final 38 seconds of the first half to cut the Charger lead to 16-15 going into the locker room. Heerey?s two 3-pointers ended a 9:07 scoreless streak.
Zeiner led the Warriors with 13 points, nine rebounds, three assists, three steals.
Hett finished with 10 points, seven rebounds, three assists.
Heerey scored 10 points and grabbed six rebounds.
Whitney Gordon contributed four points, eight rebounds and two blocked shots.
Kristen Steinborn worked the boards for six rebounds.
MHS 42, Jefferson Co. North 41
Holding No. 3 seeded Beloit (18-6) to 26.3 percent shooting, the No. 6 seeded Marion girls (19-5) held off a second-half Trojan surge to advance to the Class 3A state tournament semifinals with a first-round win Thursday in Hutchinson.
With Julia Zeiner and Whitney Gordon on the bench with four fouls early in the fourth quarter, Beloit scored four unanswered points to cut Marion?s third-quarter ending 34-29 lead to 36-33 with five minutes to play.
Zeiner returned to the game and extended the Warrior lead back to five on a fast-break layup, set up by a Kayley Heerey assist from past half court. After a Beloit basket, Heerey was fouled on a three-point attempt. The senior knocked two of the three charity throws to widen the Warrior lead to 42-37.
Up 42-38 with 3:17 left to play, Marion maintained possession of the basketball until the 1:41 mark. Marion moved the ball, playing keep away from the Trojans. The Warriors attempted two shots during the 1:36 possession. Lindsay Hett attempted the first shot, a 10-foot jumper that was off the mark and rebounded by the Warriors. The second shot ended the Marion possession with two points as Zeiner was fouled on the miss and made the two ensuing free throws to give Marion a 44-38 lead.
Even though Marion?s long possession stalled the Beloit momentum, Beloit did not give up. With 50 seconds left to play, Bailey Brown hit a baseline jump shot to bring the Trojans to within four.
Marion scored three straight points shooting three-of-four from the foul line to go up 47-40 with 31.7 seconds left.
After two missed Marion free throws, Beloit had an opportunity to make it a one-possession game, but Kalli Kruse missed the three-point attempt and fouled out when she put Hett at the line with 4.4 seconds to play.
Hett missed both attempts, giving the Trojans another opportunity to make it a one-possession ball game. With 1.6 seconds left, Brown sunk two free throws to move the Trojans to within three at 47-44. Brown was fouled by Marion?s Erin Meierhoff to reach the free-throw line.
Inbounding the ball successfully following the Brown free throws, Marion sealed the game with two Zeiner foul shots with 0.8 of a second left.
Marion held as much as a 12-point lead in the ball game. In the second quarter, the Warriors went on a 12-1 run to take a 25-13 advantage. Beloit ended the first half scoring six straight and opened the second half with five consecutive points to cut the Marion lead to 25-24 with five minutes to play in the third.
Zeiner led all scorers with 17 points, eight rebounds and three assists. Hett finished with 12 points, eight rebounds, three assists and three steals. Kayley Heerey had five points, seven rebounds and two steals. Whitney Gordon contributed seven points on three-of-four shooting.
Tegan Dunstan and Cami Englebert led Beloit with 12 points.