Having blown Hesston off the floor in the first eight minutes, the Warriors played out the remainder of the night as if the Swathers? other shoe might drop at any moment. But Hesston was never able to put its foot down, throwing up a 19-for-63 (30 percent) field goal shooting effort.
Lindsay Hett’s evening was perhaps the most efficient?if not the most productive?of her career. She tallied 25 points, led the Warriors with 9 rebounds, and buried every single one of her eight free throws.
When Hesston pulled within 11 points late in the second quarter, Hett answered with three plays that competely undercut the Swathers’ confidence.
She buried back-to-back shots?a long right wing 2-pointer and a longer left wing 3-pointer?then picked the Hesston point guard’s pocket to set up Kayley Heerey’s drive to the basket, which saddled freshman substitute Sam Short with her second foul.
Heerey hit both foul shots, giving Marion a 37-19 lead with 2:58 left in the second quarter.
After Zeiner converted a layup-and-1 at Tavia Raney’s expense, Hesston finished the quarter with a 5-0 run to cut its halftime deficit to 40-28.
The Swathers carried the momentum into the third quarter, which began with a run that slashed Marion’s lead to 42-35.
But the Warriors lowered the boom in the the third period, rolling off a 13-3 stretch powered by Heerey, who scored a pair of free throws and a 3-pointer during the burst.
Heerey also demolished a Swathers inbounds play, creating a steal for herself and a layup for Hett?all on the heels of Zeiner’s run-starting dribble-drive layup.
Zeiner effectively ended the game with Marion’s 59th point?a layup on the Warriors’ first possession of the fourth quarter?but Marion showed its respect for Hesston’s ability by sticking with its first-string players until the final horn.
The Swathers likewise refused to concede defeat, pressing to force turnovers and crashing the glass.
Hesston?s rebounders were most effective at the offensive end, turning 18 rebounds into 20 second-chance points.
Despite finding ways to create a large number of good looks, the Swathers simply could not make most of their shots count.
Marion maximized its lead at 69-45 on Hett’s steal-and-score layup, but the Swathers managed to cut the margin of the Warriors victory under 20 on a last-second layup.
Heerey finished with 14 points, and Whitney Gordon chipped in 6 points and 7 rebounds.
Sterling?Marion flattened the Black Bears with a 23-16 second quarter and led 41-30 at halftime. The Warriors gave away 26 offensive possessions, but allowed only 10 points off turnovers. Marion also forced 20 turnovers and more importantly, converted Sterling?s fumbles into 22 points.
Lindsay Hett led all scorers with 21 points, while Julia Zeiner totaled 17 and Kayley Heerey banked 12.
With 11 rebounds, Whitney Gordon powered Marion to a 39-32 rebounding, and might have had a few more caroms come her way on the offensive end had the Warriors missed more shots.
Marion shot 52 percent from the field, and went 4-for-10 from 3-point range.
Including 22 misses in the second half, Sterling made just 28 percent of its shots. The Black Bears struggled mightily from both 3-point range (27 percent) and the foul line (44 percent).
Coming?Marion (5-12) played at Nickerson (7-9) Tuesday and visits Hillsboro (10-6) Friday.
The Warriors?s regular season ends Feb. 24 at home against Smoky Valley (6-10).