It appeared the Marion girls? were well on their way to a big victory over Bennington Friday, holding a sizable lead at halftime. But they gave the game away with a loss in overtime.
After a defeat at the hands of Ell-Saline last Tuesday, the Warriors now stand at 2-15 overall and are 1-6 in league play.
?We have to put four quarters of consistent play together,? said head coach Randy Savage.
Bennington?Marion led 27-6 at halftime only to lose to the Bulldogs in overtime, 51-45.
?It was the first time the girls had one under control after three quarters and we didn’t play like we had been there before,? said head coach Randy Savage, saying that only Whitney Gordon and Megan Richmond had been in that position, both of whom fouled out early in the fourth quarter.
?You would like to learn the lesson of having to keep looking to score in a game you?re winning but sometimes it doesn’t work that way,? he said.
Marion played sluggishly the first three minutes of the game, allowing Bennington a four-point lead. But the Warriors out-score the Bulldogs 11-1 in the remainder of the first period.
Whitney Gordon had her best performance of the season in the first quarter, scoring all 11 Warrior points, including a three-pointer, and was all over on defense, blocking shots, nabbing steals and pulling down rebounds.
Gordon scored on a rebound to start the second quarter before going to the bench with foul trouble. Even without her, Marion scored 14 more unanswered points for a 16-1 run in the second quarter. The Warriors led, 27-6, at the break.
Megan Richmond sank back-to-back three-pointers for a 33-8 lead with 5:04 left in the third quarter. But Bennington found its spark, scoring eight unanswered points in a 2:20 span. At the end of the period, Marion still held an 18-point lead.
But the fourth quarter would not be kind to the Warriors. They struggled against Benning?ton?s press and ended the game with 22 turnovers. They shot only 8-for-23 at the free-throw line for the game despite going 6-for-6 in the first half. With 6:27 left in the game, Bennington had narrowed Marion?s lead to 39-25.
With about 3:50 to go, the Bulldogs came alive from the deep perimeter, sinking four shots from beyond the arc in three minutes to draw within two points. With 12.6 left, they scored again to tie the game for the first time, 40-40, and send it into overtime.
Kaelyn Thierolf scored 30 seconds into overtime, giving Marion the early lead, but the Bulldogs would draw away in the final minute to claim the six-point win.
Gordon scored 13 points in the loss, all in the first half.
Ell-Saline?Marion suffered a 52-34 defeat last Tuesday at the hands of the Cardinals. The Warriors struggled early against Ell-Saline?s long-distance offense, which sank three baskets from beyond the arc.
Marion trailed by only one point with 4:23 left in the quarter as Whitney Gordon made a free throw. But the Cardinals broke free 30 seconds later for a 14-point scoring run that gave them a 20-5 lead at the end of the period.
Kelli Hess finally snapped Marion?s scoring drought two minutes into the second quarter, making it 22-7.
The Warriors continued to recover as Megan Richmond scored twice inside before following Gordon?s three-pointer at 1:38 with one of her own. Marion was within 28-18.
Marion outscored Ell-Saline in the second quarter, 13-10, to narrow the Cardinal lead by halftime, 30-18. But Marion scored just five points in the third quarter. The Cardinals, meanwhile, put 16 on the board, including six from three-point range, giving them their largest lead of the game at 46-23 as the quarter ended.
The Warriors outscored Ell-Saline 11-7 in the final period, but it was too little, too late, leaving Marion on the short end of a 52-34 final score.
Richmond led Marion with nine points, and Katey Ehrlich and Gordon each added seven.
Coming ?The Warriors were scheduled to travel to Inman Feb. 14 before hosting Bennington for a rematch Friday. Tip-off is at 6 p.m. for both games. See hillsborofreepress.com for same-night coverage.