Warrior boys scalp competition to win Centre title

In a dramatic finish, the Marion boys defeated Centre, 43-30, to seize the championship plaque for the Centre Tournanment.

Two Marion players, Jordan Hett and Jordan Versch, were chosen for the all-tournament team.

?The first quarter was probably our best quarter of the year,? Marion coach Jeff McMillin said. ?We played so well in the first quarter that we were able to hang on.?

The Warriors had a strong first half, hitting their rhythm and forcing the Cougars to make mistakes that led to Warrior points. The Warriors racked up 21 points in the first quarter and 11 in the second quarter, thanks in part to 15 points contributed by Hett in the first half.

Hett made two long three-point shots to put the Warriors ahead, 21-5, with seconds left on the clock before the first break. He came back out on the court and nailed another three-pointer, which was followed less than a minute later by Versch to give the Warriors what would be their biggest lead of the game, 26-5.

The Warriors also played strong defense to hold the Cougars to only 14 points at halftime. Jacob Harper hit a three-point buzzer shot to give the Warriors a 32-14 lead at the end of the half.

What had been a lake of basketball magic in the first half of the game almost completely dried up for the Warriors in the third quarter. The Warriors managed only three points in the entire third quarter, shaken by poor shooting and galvanized Cougars who forced turnovers and started hitting shots.

The Cougars held the Warriors scoreless for an 11-point scoring run in the first few minutes of the third quarter, before allowing a two-point basket from Versch. Despite facing such a formidable deficit in the first half, the Cougars came back to within three points with 1:20 left.

With mere seconds left on the clock, Mikael Antoszyk, Harper, and Versch made key free throws for the Warriors, earning the five points needed to hang on to their lead and edge the Cougars for the victory?even with a made shot at the buzzer.

?It was great to win,? Versch said. ?We lost confidence in the third quarter, and we just came back and we knew we needed to hit some shots, and we did.?

Hett led the Warriors with 15 points, and the Cougars? Shilo Goracke hit the double digits with 14 points.

White City?Marion won an exciting semifinal battle with the White City Huskies, 35-33, Friday.

?They played hard tonight,? Marion coach Jeff McMillin said. ?They played really hard.?

After a sub-par performance in the Warriors? win against Elyria Tuesday, Warrior mainstay Jordan Hett came out strong with eight points before the first break. He racked up six more before the half to help put the Warriors up, 22-20, with mere seconds left before the break.

But a desperation shot from a Huskies? player flew the length of the court and hit nothing but net as the buzzer sounded, putting the Huskies ahead, 23-22, at the break.

Hett scored six more points late in the first half, helping the Warriors to a narrow lead, 32-29, as they headed into the locker room at halftime.

The two teams combined for only seven points in the second half. The Huskies led, 33-32, with only three minutes left in the game.

In a bold move, Marion?s Jacob Harper went for a long shot with 2:20 left and nailed it to win the game for the Warriors, 35-33.

?That took some guts,? McMillin said. ?We?ve been talking about taking ownership and you can see them starting to do that. It matters more to them than it does to us, and that?s what it takes to get better.?

McMillin said it was good to see Hett bounce back strong.

Hett was the only Warrior in the double digits, with 22 points. Jaren Nittler and Tanner Boeh each scored 12 points for White City.

Elyria Christian?Marion defeated Elyria Christian, 57-47, in the first round of the tournanment.

?It was nice to have guys come out and play well,? Marion coach Jeff McMillin said. ?We just try to get better at practice and I think we have been.?

Elyria started with a bang when Tyler Clements nailed a three-point shot to put points on the board. But the game lagged for both teams through the first period.

The pace picked up as the Warriors put four points on the board, making the score 8-6 with just over six minutes left in the half.

With 3:30 left, Mikael Antoszyk sank a three-pointer to tie the game at 11. A three-point basket by Jordan Versch gave the Warriors the lead, 14-11, with just over three minutes left.

A three-point play from Aaron Potter with 1:16 left put the Lions ahead, 18-17. The Lions led at the half, 23-20.

The Warriors got a 26-25 lead on a layup by Dillon Richmond with just under four minutes left in the third period.

With 3:39 left, the Warriors came alive. Antoszyk sank a three-pointer and put the Warriors ahead, 29-25. A mere 15 seconds later, Antoszyk caught a pass and nailed another three, making the score 32-25.

Jacob Harper then sank back-to-back three-point shots a little over a minute apart. The four three-pointers in the last four minutes of the period gave Marion a 38-27 lead.

Points from Jordan Hett and Harper made the score 42-31 by the final break.

Hett scored on a pass from Antoszyk to give the Warriors a 44-31 lead over the Eagles at the beginning of the fourth period. With 6:28 left in the game, the Warriors went on a 5-0 run to extend their lead to 10 points.

Daniel Froese sank two free throws for the Eagles, but another five-point scoring run brought the score to 52-37.

Antoszyk made two free throws?a change from the first half of the game, when the Warriors were one of 11 from the line?to make the score 54-39 with 2:06 left.

The Warriors won, 57-47.

?I was happy with a lot of things I saw,? McMillin said. ?I like the effort I saw.?

McMillin also commended Dane Purkeypile, who scored seven points.

?He does what he always does?he plays strong, solid basketball,? he said.

Antoszyk led Marion with 12 points and Versch added 10. Jordan Case scored 13 for Elyria.

Coming?The Warriors (4-8) are scheduled to play a non-league game Friday at Council Grove.