In the championship game of the second annual Marion Classic tournament, the Marion High School girls basketball team defeated Berean Academy by the mildly surprising score of 51-48. When MHS opened up a 26-6 lead after Berean forward Janelle Rust exited the game with an injury, it looked like Marion might win in a rout.
Instead of folding like a steel chair, Berean hit Marion from behind with an 18-4 run that led to a 34-34 tie early in the third quarter. But key baskets by Whitney Gordon and Kristen Steinborn blunted the worst of it before Julia Zeiner and Lindsay Hett put MHS back in control.
Rust had returned for the second half, but Marion led 44-36 through three quarters. Berean used an 8-2 run to close back within striking distance midway through the fourth.
But on what became the decisive possession, Marion spread the floor, controlled the ball and drained the clock from about 2:30 down to 1:34, forcing Berean to foul. With a foul to give, Rust hacked Zeiner and, after Marion inbounded to Hett, Berean sent Whitney Gordon to the line for the first set of 1-and-1 free throws. Gordon hit the first, and Zeiner practically ended the game by rebounding the miss of the second. Trailing by five with 28 seconds remaining, Berean managed one more basket.
Over the course of the contest but primarily during the first half, Marion created 17 more shot attempts than Berean. Gordon did most of that damage, scoring 16 points off of 11 offensive rebounds with 14 total boards and just two turnovers.
Zeiner and Mallory Zuercher tied for the game-high, with 17 points apiece. Hett finished with 14, and Rust totaled 12 points in 20 minutes of action.
Remington?Marion bounced back from an error-prone Monday night to win the turnover battle 22-14; the extra possessions translated into a 60-40 victory during which the Warriors built a 21-point lead.
Kayley Heerey hit six 3-pointers and provided most of the oomph in a 7-for-10 first half team effort from the arc.
Before Marion broke the Broncos? spirit, there were four lead changes and three ties.
But as Heerey (20 points), Lindsay Hett (17) and Julia Zeiner (12) settled into the rhythm of forcing and finishing off turnovers, Remington fell apart. Hett had six steals and six assists?but as importantly, committed just one turnover.
Remington shot 48 percent in the first half, but made just four of 14 attempts in the second half.
Coming?Marion (3-0) hosts Hesston Tuesday and visits Moundridge Friday before breaking for the holidays.