Some Warriors’ fans went home happy Friday following the Marion High School boys’ basketball game at USD 408 Sports and Aquatics Center. Just not the right ones, as the visiting Berean Academy Warriors scored a 47-39 road victory.
Marion got off to a promising start when Mikael Antosyck hit a jumper along the left baseline at 7 minutes, 5 seconds of the opening period to give Marion an early 2-0 lead. But an 8-0 run by Berean, fueled by baskets from four different players, had Marion playing from behind early, and the home Warriors never reclaimed the lead the rest of the game.
Jordan Hett scored on a jumper from the right side and hit two free throws to pull Marion within 1, 11-12, with :12 left in the first quarter.
Berean extended the lead to 6 points midway through the second period, but free throws by Hett narrowed the gap to 21-23. A buzzer-beating 3-point shot by Cameron Rust boosted the Berean lead to 27-22 at the half.
The teams played even in a third quarter where baskets were hard to come by. Marion pulled to within 3 when Taylor Heidebrecht fed Jacob Harper on the baseline for a spinning basket, 24-27, and again when Scott Jones hit two free throws, 28-31. But the quarter ended with Berean maintaining a 5-point edge, 35-30.
A 3-point shot by Josh Landis and a baseline jumper by Rust quickly doubled the deficit to 10 at the start of the fourth quarter, 40-30. Marion got no closer than 6 points the rest of the way.
“With their ball control, it gets down inside the 4-minute mark, and you’re trying to make up 8 points, it’s going to be real tough,” Marion head coach Jeff McMillin said.
Hett led Marion scorers with 16, and Harper chipped in 12.
“They’re a real good team. They win games by doing exactly what they want to do,” McMillin said. “They’re very efficient, very patient on offense, and a good defensive team.”
The deliberate style of play limited the number of scoring opportunities for Marion.
“We usually get 50 or so shots a game, and they lowered the number of possessions so much we got about half that,” McMillin said.
“I was happy with how we got to the free throw line, and we were 19 of 21 from the line,” McMillin said.
Marion played Jan. 31 at Canton-Galva, and while the Warriors emerged victorious, 59-42, McMillin wasn’t overly enthusiastic as he talked about his team’s performance.
“It was a game where we lacked enthusiasm from the time we got off the bus,” McMillin said. “I think we played hard without enthusiasm.”
“Some of the guys really felt like we lost that game afterward. It’s probably good for our expectations that we’re not just happy with the win, but dissatisfied that we didn’t play as well as we could,” McMillin said.
Marion was back in action Tuesday against Ell-Saline at USD 408 Sports and Aquatics Center. The Warriors will be on the road Friday against Bennington.
Marion led Ell-Saline on Tuesday by 7 at the end of the third quarter. But the Cardinals took the lead on a free throw with :02 left, a Hett desperation 3 missed, and Marion lost, 45-44.