Marion loses to Wildcats by 12

The Marion girls? basketball team kept pace with Haven Friday, trailing only by four at halftime. But the Wildcats, boosted by a 25-point performance by Samantha Stallbaumer, earned a 39-27 victory.

Still, coach Kelly Robson was pleased with his team?s performance against a team that had previously beaten a competitive Hutchinson Trinity squad.

?I told (the girls) at the end, I hate to lose, but I couldn?t be disappointed, even in losing by 12 to this team,? he said. ?(Haven) beat Hutch Trinity by nine, scored 61 points against them, and I think Hutch Trinity?s going to be a really good team in our league.?

Julia Hall scored the game?s first basket, but Stallbaumer responded with a three-pointer?the first of four for her in the first quarter. With the teams tied at 4, Haven drained three consecutive baskets from behind the arc before Kirsten Hansen and Kourtney Hansen scored six points in a row for Marion. The Wildcats, however, extended their lead to 18-10 by the end of the first quarter, boosted by five three-pointers.

The Wildcats built their lead to double digits with 4:25 left in the second quarter. Bailey Robson ignited a 9-0 run with a three-pointer 18 seconds later, and by the time Kourtney Hansen made a fourth free throw in a span of just more than a minute, Marion had closed the gap to 20-19. Haven ended the half with a free throw and a basket for a 23-19 halftime lead.

Marion scored just eight points in the second half.

?I didn?t feel like we were shooting bad shots necessarily,? Robson said. ?It felt like we were driving the ball a lot more, but our looks at the basket weren?t really great.?

Boosted by two threes from Stallbaumer, Haven outscored Marion 10-4 in the third quarter. By the time the period ended, Haven?s lead was back to double figures, 33-23.

After the Wildcats extended their margin to 13, Kourtney Hansen and Elizabeth Meyer scored to bring Marion within 36-27 with 4:03 to play. Those were Marion?s final points, however, and with the Warriors unable to secure a defensive rebound, Haven scored the game?s last three points from the charity stripe on three separate trips to the line.

Robson praised his team?s overall defensive effort.

?All night long, I was pleased with our defense,? he said. ?I thought zone was the best way to go. We really hustled out of it, and except for Stallbaumer getting open for quite a few shots early on, I thought we played it really well.

?If we can play like that for the rest of the season, I think we?ll be in a lot of games.?

Marion shot 34.4 percent from the field (11-32). Kourtney Hansen led with 10 points.

Coming?Marion (2-3) will resume play after the break by hosting Heart of America opponent Canton-Galva Jan. 6.

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