Marion girls third in Cougar Classic after one-point win

Kourtney Hansen drives between two Rural Vista defenders and scores to bring Marion within 28-24 Saturday. Hansen scored a game-winning free throw with 5 seconds left and had 24 points in Marion?s 41-40 win. Hansen was named to the all-tournament team. Janae Rempel / Free Press

The only score that matters is the final one. That proved true for the Marion girls who, after trailing the entire game and by as many as 11 points, took their first lead with 5.1 seconds left to defeat Rural Vista, 41-40, Saturday.

With the victory, Marion claimed third place in the Cougar Classic tournament.

Marion trailed 7-0 before Marshelle Mermis scored midway through the first quarter. A 10-6 run by the Heat left Marion trailing 17-8 at the first break.

?I felt like we didn?t start very well,? coach Kelly Robson said. ?As a team, we didn?t have the intensity that we needed. I think we were hoping that they were just going to kind of lay down and let us go, and they didn?t.?

The Warriors outscored the Heat 8-2 to start the second quarter but found themselves in foul trouble. Rural Vista scored seven of its nine points in the quarter from the charity stripe, and the first half ended with the Heat in front, 26-21.

Rural Vista outscored Marion 6-5 in the third quarter and took a 32-26 lead heading into the final period.

Slowly, Marion chipped away at the deficit. Hansen scored Marion?s first eight points, bringing the Warriors within 35-34 with 3:35 to play. Rural Vista extended its lead to 38-34 before Bailey Robson drained a three to again bring Marion within one. Rural Vista kept the lead by making one free throw on two separate trips to the line sandwiching a charge foul called on Marion.

Hansen closed the gap to 40-39 with 1:07 to play, and after two missed Heat free throws, Kristen Herzet tied the game with a free throw with 39.3 seconds left.

Rural Vista turned the ball over on its next possession, prompting Robson to call timeout. Hansen drove to the basket and drew a foul with just 5.1 seconds left. She made the second of two free throws, giving Marion a one-point edge. Rural Vista missed a shot at the buzzer, giving Marion the victory.

?I?m really proud of (the girls),? Robson said. ?They battled back. I?ve been asking Kourtney all season long to try to drive more, and the last couple of games she?s been doing that.?

Hansen scored 24 points in the game and was named to the all-tournament team.

?My takeaway (from the tournament) is, we?re coming, as far as learning how to win,? Robson said. ?We?re going to compete to the end. I always know my girls are going to play hard, but at critical points, we can do the things that we need to.

?I think we?re better now than when we started. That?s kind of the goal of each season is to keep getting better, and the winning thing is coming, so that?s nice.?

Centre 40, MHS 36

Semifinals, Friday

Marion led by as many as seven in Friday?s four-point loss.

The teams played evenly through the first quarter, battling to a 9-9 tie. Each team was led by their respective high-scorers. Marion gained five points from Erika Hess, while Centre had seven from Shelby Makovec.

Marion outscored the Cougars, 10-3, to start the second quarter, taking their largest lead, 19-12, when Hess scored at the 3:10 mark. Centre closed to within 20-18 when Shelby Pankratz scored off a steal, and the half ended with Marion in front, 22-18.

With Marion leading, 25-20, after Hess made a three, Centre ended the third quarter with a 12-1 burst for a 32-26 lead heading into the final quarter. Hess left the game with an injury during the third quarter and did not return.

Kourtney Hansen and Julia Hall combined for seven consecutive points, boosting Marion back in front, 33-32, with 3:40 to play. After both teams missed, a Warrior turnover allowed Centre to regain the advantage when Makovec scored with 1:43 to go.

?We were trying to be patient,? coach Kelly Robson said. ?Again, it wasn?t that we weren?t going to shoot. We were just going to try to be patient. I think we tried to force one too many passes to the inside, and they got it.?

After another Marion turnover, the Warriors missed the front end of two one-and-one opportunities and two field goal attempts in the final minute.

Makovec, meanwhile, chipped in a pair of free throws, and Carlotta Benning extended Centre?s lead to 38-33 with a basket with 14.5 left to play. Bailey Robson drained a three-pointer with 7.0 left to bring Marion within two, but Makovec sealed Centre?s win with a pair of free throws.

?One takeaway from this game was, again, the number of turnovers got up on us,? Robson said. ?And they were really needless turnovers. It wasn?t that they were pressuring us really hard and we dribbled it out of bounds or something. While I don?t like that, I can accept that. We just threw the ball to the wrong team several times and tried to force the ball in places that we shouldn?t have.?

Hess led Marion with 12 points. Makovec led all scorers with 20 points for Centre. Shelby Pankratz added 11. Benning had 13 rebounds.

?Both teams played good defense, and virtually every shot was contested,? Centre coach Alan Stahlecker said. ?I was pleased with our ability to make some plays and get some key rebounds late in the game, as well as hitting enough free throws to pull out the win.?

MHS 48, Wakefield 26

Quarterfinals, Tuesday

The fourth-seeded Warriors took control early en-route to a first-round win over the No. 5 Bombers.

?I was probably most pleased with the defensive effort,? coach Kelly Robson said. ?We identified their best players, and I thought we really focused on where they were and kept them below their averages, I believe, on their scoring.?

Erika Hess scored the game?s first basket 30 seconds in, and neither team scored again until Wakefield scored off a Marion turnover to tie the game at the 4:18 mark. From there, the Warriors ended the quarter with an 11-0 run. Kourtney Hansen contributed Marion?s final seven points of the quarter, giving the Warriors a 13-2 lead by the first break.

In an evenly-played second quarter, Wakefield scored the first six points, then Marion ended the period with an 8-2 burst to enjoy a 21-10 margin at intermission.

Hansen scored 11 points in the first half. Hess added eight.

?Erika had some nice drives early in the game, and Kourtney continues to be a really good offensive rebounder and putting the ball back in,? Robson said. ?Those two did a really nice job of getting us going early, and then the others just kind of came along.?

The Warriors built their lead to 29-10 after the break before Wakefield scored two points from the charity stripe. Marion outscored the Bombers 6-2 in the final 2:12 for a 35-14 lead heading into the final quarter.

Marion led by as many as 27 in the fourth quarter en-route to the 22-point victory.

Hansen led with 15 points and eight rebounds.

?We continue to grow as rebounders, I think,? Robson said. ?This was a team, for once, that we were similar in size to, and I thought we did a good job of rebounding at both ends really.?

Coming?Marion (6-6) was scheduled to host Hillsboro Tuesday and will travel to Council Grove Friday.

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