Warrior girls’ season ends in 3A sub-state semifinals

Kourtney Hansen drives into the lane during the second half against Wellsville Thursday. Hansen scored 10 points and had 12 rebounds in Marion’s 40-34 loss. Marion concludes the season with an overall record of 15-7.
Kourtney Hansen drives into the lane during the second half against Wellsville Thursday. Hansen scored 10 points and had 12 rebounds in Marion’s 40-34 loss. Marion concludes the season with an overall record of 15-7.
The Marion girls’ basketball season came to a close Thursday in the semifinals of the Class 3A sub-state tournament hosted by Mission Valley. The third-seeded Warriors overcame a poor start in what became a competitive game, but Marion succumbed to No. 2 Wellsville, 40-34.

The Eagles, themselves the fourth largest school in Class 3A, are members of the Pioneer League, which is otherwise comprised of 4A schools.

In the game’s first four-plus minutes, Marion committed seven turnovers and missed two shots, allowing Wellsville to build a 10-0 lead. Kourtney Hansen made the Warriors’ only basket at the 3:35 mark, and by the first break, Marion faced a 16-2 deficit.

“We didn’t get off to the start that we needed to,” coach Kelly Robson said. “We talked for several days about the pressure they were going to put on us, and it didn’t look on film like it was going to be that big a deal, and it shouldn’t have been, quite honestly. But we threw the passes right where they wanted us to throw the passes and early in the game, they were able to stretch out a lead. Then the whole time we’re just trying to fight back.”

The Warriors made up ground in the second quarter. Despite 3-for-9 shooting from the field, Marion outscored the Eagles, 10-5, when Wellsville shots refused to fall. The Eagles made just two baskets in 10 attempts in the period, and Marion scored the final six points of the quarter to draw within 21-12 at halftime.

After halftime, Alli Molleker and Sam Richmond scored in succession to close the gap to five, but Wellsville broke its 5:26 scoring drought with two three-pointers sandwiching a basket by Hansen at the 4:53 mark. That was Marion’s final made basket of the period, and the Warriors added three free-throws, but trailed, 31-21, at the final break.

Wellsville attempted, and made, its final basket with 4:25 in the game. The three-pointer put the Eagles in front, 36-27, but after that, Corin Parmley scored to ignite a furious 7-1 Warrior rally over the next three minutes. Taelyn Pagel made a three-pointer in that stretch, and by the time Hansen scored with 22 seconds left, Marion had closed the gap to 37-34. Wellsville, however, made three of four free-throws in the final 22 seconds, while Marion missed two shots, bringing the final margin to six.

“The way it was looking, to even imagine we’d get back to a three-point game close to the end of that, was just way out of my thinking,” Robson said. “I’m so proud of them for battling like that.”

Hansen led the Warriors with 10 points and 12 rebounds. The Warriors committed 26 turnovers in the game and attempted 11 fewer shots than the Eagles. Marion concludes the season with an overall record of 15-7.

With the graduation of seven seniors the year before, Robson said he didn’t know what to expect this season.

“To think about a team replacing so many players, so many points, so many rebounds, so much leadership and getting 15 wins, I think honestly that was probably beyond my expectations,” he said. “I think most people who know something about basketball knew we had some good JV players coming up, but they were JV players, and to do this at the varsity level is so wonderful. They were a fantastic group of girls to work with.”

Marion will graduate three seniors: Molly Hess, Marissa Jacobson and Taelyn Pagel.

“I didn’t have any four-year seniors, but (I) appreciated them so much for what they did,” Robson said. “I’m going to miss them.”