Pihl, Vikings frost over MHS girls 77-60

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MHSgZeinerPC072054.jpg
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Julia Zeiner goes over Jacey Cullop to score two of her 14 points Friday. Zeiner and the Warriors both got into foul trouble, and the Vikings outscored Marion 20-5 at the line.

The Marion High School girls basketball team was battered by Smoky Valley?s senior guard-forward tandem of Rhys Pihl and Jenna Koch Friday night and absorbed a 77-60 loss in Linds?borg.

Winter wrapped the region in a blanket of snow, but Koch and Pihl were red-hot, combining for 54 points. Pihl led the Vikings with 32 points, while Koch added 22.

No other Viking topped six points, but the eruption from the twosome wiped out double-digit efforts from Marion?s Julia Zeiner, Lindsay Hett and Kayley Heerey.

The Warriors chopped an early 8-2 deficit to 8-6 on a pair of fast-break layups by Zeiner. But Smoky Valley dialed up its full-court press to make it 19-6 with 4:08 left in the first quarter and 32-12 in the closing seconds of the period.

Lauren Helmer threw in a 2-pointer just ahead of the buzzer, and Marion carried that momentum into the second quarter, cutting the Viking lead to 15 points on a field goal by Kristen Steinborn.

But as the Viking starters rotated back into the game, Smoky Valley pushed its lead to 42-21. Pihl scored a 2-point shot and a 3-pointer, then assisted on a short jumper by Koch during a 7-2 spurt. Heerey rattled in a last-second 3-pointer to make the halftime score 47-27.

After Pihl made the opening shot of the second half, Heerey grabbed and put back an offensive rebound. The Warriors then forced a turnover, and Zeiner finished off a pass from Heerey to make it 49-31.

The short run stalled, but Zeiner scored field goals at 5:09 and 4:30 to keep the Vikings in check. After a timeout at 3:53, Hett caught fire, drilling a 3-pointer at 3:00 and pilfering a pass from a Viking guard for a breakaway basket.

Marion outscored the Vikings 18-11 in the frame and trailed by a 58-45 margin, but the momentum did not carry over into the fourth.

Zeiner picked up her fourth foul 10 seconds into the quarter and was whistled for her fifth at 7:12.

The Vikings started the period on a 6-0 run and pushed their lead to 64-45.

With 2:05 remaining and the Warriors trailing 72-54, Kimber Hardey put in two free throws, Heerey followed with a 3-pointer and Emmali Kelsey followed with a foul shot for a 6-0 run.

With 1:00 remaining, Pihl broke Marion?s run with a 2-pointer and sparked a 5-0 stretch to close out the game for Smoky Valley.

Heerey scored 19 points to lead the Warriors. Hett finished with 13 and Zeiner 14.

Pihl went 10-for-12 from the charity stripe, and the Vikings made 20 of 32 free throws.

As a team, Marion was awarded nine foul shots.

Coming?The Warriors were to face Sterling Tuesday at home. Marion?s next contest will be against Ellinwood Jan. 4 at home.

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