Bennington?A big first half propelled Marion to a 42-25 victory.
Katey Ehrlich scored Marion?s first 11 points on her way to a team-high 18. The Warriors led 11-2 when Ehrlich scored with 2:23 remaining in the opening quarter, but the Bulldogs closed the gap to 13-8 by the end of the period.
From there, Marion enjoyed a 10-0 run for a 23-8, advantage after Megan Richmond scored with 4:12 left in the half. Julia Hall and Bailey Robson hit consecutive baskets for a 29-11 Warrior lead at the break.
?All of them were just playing really well in the first half,? coach Kelly Robson said. ?That was exciting to see. It was nice to get off to a fast start for a change.?
Marion built its largest lead of the night, 35-13, after Ehrlich and Kirsten Hansen scored back-to-back baskets. Two Bulldog three-pointers ended the third quarter with a 35-19 Warrior lead.
Bennington cut the lead to 35-23 before Kaelyn Thierolf made a basket and Kelli Hess added two free throws for a 39-23 score with 3:46 left in the game.
After that, each team managed one more basket. Marion made only one of seven free throw attempts in the last 3:08 for the final margin.
?We didn?t play as well in the second half as we did in the first half,? Robson said. ?Bennington started to make a few more of their outside shots. I don?t know if we were closing out that much later than we were earlier, but we just needed to continue to try to do that.
?Overall, we are closing out really well on jump shooters. We?re blocking out of that zone much better than we did at the start of the year.?
Sedgwick?After a close first half of play, Marion gained separation in the second half for a 10-point road victory Tuesday.
?The game really turned in the third quarter,? coach Kelly Robson said. ?Defen?sively, we held them to two points. The girls just came out of halftime realizing we were doing the right things, just keep doing it.?
A close first quarter ended with Sedgwick leading 10-9. Both teams struggled getting shots to fall for much of the second quarter. The half ended when Megan Richmond lobbed the basketball from half-court and made a buzzer-beating basket to cut Sedgwick?s lead to 18-17 at intermission.
Marion took the lead with three free throws out of the break, then held the Cardinals to two points during the quarter.
Robson gave the Warriors a spark when she followed a three-pointer with a basket for a 25-20 Marion lead as the quarter ended.
When Katey Ehrlich scored an open layup and Thierolf followed with a three-pointer, Marion led 30-20. The Cardinals cut Marion?s lead to six before Julia Hall scored. Sedgwick then reduced the margin to 32-29 with five straight points with 3:08 to play.
Those were Sedgwick?s last points. The Cardinals missed five free throws after that, including the front ends of a couple one-and-ones. Marion made seven of 10 free throws for the final 10-point margin.
?We did exactly what we needed to in the fourth quarter,? Robson said. ?Of course, every team works on free throws, but I was really proud of our girls for stepping in there and making those at that key spot.?
Robson led Marion with 10 points.
Coming?Marion was scheduled to conclude the regular season Tuesday at Hutchinson Trinity.
Marion will host a Class 3A sub-state that also includes Southeast of Saline, Halstead, Haven, Hesston (ranked first in Class 3A), Hutch Trinity, Sacred Heart and Sedgwick. Seedings were to be announced Wednesday.
All first-round games will be played Tuesday at the school with the higher seed. Semifinals and finals will be played Friday at Marion with the title game Saturday.