The Marion boys started their season with a bang Friday night, blowing out Hutch Trinity, 51-32, in a non-league game.
?It?s real big,? coach Jeff McMillan said of the win. ?Any time you can get a win against a team with a good program, you can get some momentum to build off of.?
Jacob Harper lived up to preseason expectations, putting Marion up, 2-0, with 5:47 left in the first quarter to jump-start the offense.
The 6-foot, 2-inch junior went on to score six more points in the quarter to help Marion to a 12-7 lead at the first break.
?He?s prepared himself,? McMillan said about Harper.??He played a lot in the off-season. He knows if he wants to be a good player, that?s the way he?s going to have to play.?
In the second quarter, sophomore Taylor Heidebrecht scored back-to-back baskets on either side of the 6:30 mark to pace the Marion offense. Harper and Jordan Hett combined to cap an eight-point scoring burst that gave the Warriors a comfortable 20-11 lead going into intermission.
Harper scored again a few seconds into the third quarter to set the tone for the second half. Hett sank a three-pointer and Heidebrecht scored again at the 6:03 mark to put the Warriors ahead by 16.
Marion enjoyed an 11-2 scoring run over the first five minutes of the third quarter.
A basket by Jones gave Marion its biggest lead of the game, 40-17, at the start of the fourth quarter.
But the Celtics rallied in the fourth quarter, putting up 10 unanswered points from 7:01 to 4:15 to narrow Marion?s lead to 40-27.
A basket by Scott Jones at 4:04 snapped Marion?s scoring drought. Hett followed with a basket, Mikael Antoszyk sank a three and Zac Robson added a basket to put the Warriors comfortably on top again, 49-29.
Marion ran out the clock to secure the victory.
?I knew (the Celtics) were going to come out here and play hard,? McMillan said, adding that he was most pleased with his team?s defensive efforts and not letting up until the end.
Harper scored 13 points to lead Marion. Hett added 10 and Jones eight.
Coming?The Warriors are scheduled to play Berean Academy Thursday to kick off their Warrior Classic tournament. Marion will play Eureka Friday. Tip-off is at 8:15 p.m. Finals are scheduled for Saturday.