Following an uninspired 56-41 loss to Sedgwick last week, coach Jeff McMillin said the Cardinals would see a different team the second time around.
That was the case Tuesday, as the Marion boys engaged in a competitive battle and fell just three points short, 43-40, in the end.
?I was pretty disappointed after our game last week, but I told them I was real proud of how they played tonight,? McMillin said. ?They showed them a different team tonight.?
McMillin praised the Warriors for their ability to make adjustments and focus on the game plan.
?We adjusted to a lot of the things that they did well the first time,? he said. ?For this team, as young as we?ve been and as much trouble as we?ve had focusing on game plans, they did a real good job of focusing on what we needed them to do and played hard to boot.?
The teams battled to an 8-8 tie by the end of the first quarter. Nicholas Stuchlik and Mason Pedersen accounted for all of Marion?s scoring in the period.
Bret Voth hit a three to start the second quarter, and Marion built a 15-10 lead. But a 7-0 run put Sedgwick in front. Marion trailed, 19-17, at halftime.
The Warriors tied the game at 22, then Voth drained a three at the 4:54 mark. Those were Marion?s final points of the period, and Sedgwick reclaimed the lead, 29-25, by the end of it.
Stuchlik scored Marion?s next five points to bring the Warriors within 31-30. Following a three-point play by Brylie Ware, Jacob Baldwin made four free throws to tie the game at 34.
Nathaniel Becker hit a three for Sedgwick, but Voth scored in the paint to bring Marion within 37-36. Ware again made a basket and was fouled. He missed the ensuing free throw, but Morgan Gardner grabbed the rebound and put it back up for two. Suddenly, Marion trailed, 41-36, with 3:02 to go.
Voth closed the gap to three, and Baldwin made a pair of free throws to trim Sedgwick?s lead to 42-40 with 45 seconds left. However, after Sedgwick missed the front end of a one-and-one, Marion turned the ball over. Sedgwick scored its final point from the charity stripe, and Voth?s final three-point attempt bounced off the back of the rim and fell out.
?There wasn?t a minute of that game that we didn?t play to win,? McMillin said. ?If they?re improving on things that we ask them to improve on and playing hard, I don?t know what else I can ask of them.?
Stuchlik shared top scoring honors with Ware. Both had 12 points. Stuchlik completed the double-double with 10 rebounds. Voth added 10 points for Marion.
Coming?As the No. 8 seed, Marion (4-16) was scheduled to travel to No. 1 Hesston (18-2) Tuesday for a Class 3A sub-state quarterfinal matchup.