Having lost to the Trojans in the season-opener, Marion faced them again in a Class 3A sub-state semifinal game at Halstead Friday. When Warrior shots refused to fall, Marion suffered a 44-34 defeat.
Baskets were hard to come by for both teams early, but especially for Marion, who seemed to have a lid on its basket. Kourtney Hansen scored the game?s first field goal, then Marion missed its next nine attempts, many of which were in the paint. SES went 3-for-12 in the first quarter to stake a 9-2 lead by the end of it.
?My best guess is we were just nervous,? coach Kelly Robson said. ?We were getting good shots. We had multiple layups in the first quarter, and we just missed shot after shot after shot.?
Robson said he was pleased with his team?s defensive effort in limiting SES to nine first-quarter points.
The Warriors narrowed the gap when Kourtney Hansen made a pair of free-throws and Erika Hess grabbed a steal and scored for a 9-6 margin. SES built it back to nine, thanks largely to the efforts of Erica Montgomery, who scored seven of her game-high 23 points in the second quarter.
Kirsten Hansen nailed a three-pointer at the buzzer?the first of three for her on the night?bringing Marion within 19-13 at halftime.
SES used a 6-0 run to build a double-digit lead after the break and built it even more with two treys and a two-pointer in about a minute?s time, making it 33-17 at the 2:38 mark. Kristen Herzet closed scoring for the period with a basket, making it 33-19 heading into the final break.
Erika Hess scored to start the fourth quarter before SES increased its lead to 37-21. Kourtney Hansen made two free-throws, then Kirsten Hansen drained a trey. Bailey Robson followed a SES traditional three-point play with a three-pointer, and Marion began to heat up. Hess scored off a steal, and by the time Kirsten Hansen made her third trey, Marion was within 42-34 with 1:07 to play, having outscored the Trojans 13-5 in a 3:20 span.
But Marion was in a hole too deep from which to climb, and the Trojans made two free throws in the final minute to seal their 10-point win.
?We believed with all our heart that zone defense, trying to keep the ball away from (Kylee Thaxton) and (Erica Montgomery) was the best way to go,? Robson said. ?We knew what we had to do, and I thought we did it for stretches of the game. We just didn?t make shots.?
Kourtney Hansen led the Warriors with 12 points. Kirsten Hansen added 11.
Sandwiched in between Marion?s two losses to SES, the Warriors won 16 games, enjoying an eight-game win streak through much of January.
For seven seniors, it was their final appearance in a Marion basketball uniform: Marshelle Conley, Kirsten Hansen, Kristen Herzet, Erika Hess, Eliza?beth Meyer, McKenzee Remmers and Bailey Rob?son.
?I just couldn?t be prouder of a group of senior girls who just stayed with it all the way through,? Robson said. ?I have really enjoyed coaching them. I can?t say that often enough.?
Their graduation will leave a void for next year, which Robson said provides an opportunity for next year?s juniors to step into leading roles.
Marion 60, Eureka 23
Quarterfinals, Tuesday at Marion
The third-seeded Marion girls used a hot start to propel them to victory over sixth-seeded Eureka. Once the Warriors were rolling, there was no stopping them en route to a 37-point win.
The teams were familiar opponents. Marion had won a 52-25 contest over the Tornadoes in mid-December.
Much like they did in the teams? first meeting, the Warriors held Eureka scoreless in the game?s opening minutes. Marion came out firing on all cylinders, making six of its first 10 field goals to build a 15-0 lead. Kourtney Hansen strung together 10 points on her way to a game-high 22.
Eureka scored its first and only field goal of the period at the 3:07 mark before Bailey Robson and Kristen Herzet closed the quarter with baskets to give Marion a 19-2 lead.
Marion outscored Eureka 16-8 in the second quarter, led by Erika Hess with five points, including a quarter-opening three-pointer. At halftime, Marion led, 35-10.
The Warriors continued to build their lead, reaching a 30-point spread with a 5-0 run to lead 44-14 with 2:31 left in the third quarter. The teams more or less traded scores for a 52-21 margin by the end of the period.
With a running clock in place to start the fourth quarter, McKenzee Remmers drained a three-pointer about 15 seconds in, and Coach Kelly Robson cleared his bench on the way to the 37-point win.
Joining Kourtney Hansen in double figures was Bailey Robson with 11 points.