Marion High boys’ and girls’ basketball teams knew they would have tough challenges at Council Grove on Friday. What they didn’t know was that they would be disrespected before the first whistle ever blew.
Once fierce rivals in the bygone Cottonwood Valley League era, the Braves got in a pregame jab against the Warriors by calling them “Indians” in the game program.
Intended dig or thoughtless mistake, it didn’t matter when the games tipped off, as Council Grove had little trouble dispatching their Native-named counterparts.
The Lady Warriors got thumped 61-32, never recovering from a rough first quarter that saw them score just one basket from the field.
State-ranked Council Grove hit two 3-pointers right off the bat, but Sam Richmond responded in kind for Marion, dropping a long trey 2 minutes into the game to make the score 6-3.
Marion wouldn’t hit another shot from the floor for the next 10 minutes. While the Lady Warriors adapted quickly to Council Grove’s full-court press, the Lady Braves’ half-court defense was impenetrable, forcing tough shots that missed and turnovers that turned into points on the other end.
Marion picked up free throws from Allie Molleker and Kourtney Hansen during the shooting drought. Hansen finally split two defenders and scored inside with 4 minutes left in the half, making the score 23-8. Richmond bounced a baseline pass to Hansen for another score, and Council Grove called time out to regroup. Marion didn’t score a field goal the rest of the half, while the Lady Braves reeled off 8 points in the final :37 to take a comfortable 31-12 lead.
Halftime adjustments led the Lady Warriors to their best quarter of the contest in the third. Hansen scored 8 and Taelyn Pagel, Corin Parmley, Courtney Herzet, and Marissa Jacobsen picked up points. Eclipsing their first-half output by 1, the Lady Warriors still trailed by 18, 43-25, going into the final quarter.
Council Grove capitalized on Marion turnovers and good free throw shooting to control the fourth, winning by 29.
Hansen scored 18 to lead Marion.
Evann Heidebrecht got the boys off to a quick lead with a slashing drive and scoop shot, and buckets by Sam Zinn and Chase Stringer staked the Warriors to a 6-2 lead.
Over the next 12 minutes, Marion imploded as Council Grove exploded with a 29-6 run. The Warriors were scoreless for nearly 6 minutes of the second quarter as the Braves built a 31-12 lead. Nathan Baldwin, Zachary Stuchlik, and Peyton Heidebrecht fueled a late rally, but the Warriors trailed 35-19 at the half.
Marion couldn’t find any answers in the second half, as Council Grove’s lead ballooned to 32 in the fourth quarter, triggering a running clock. A flurry of Stringer baskets against Braves reserves late in the fourth quarter brought the final gap back under 30, 64-38.
Stuchlik and Stringer led the Warriors with 10 points each.