Despite the disappointment of a 27-point loss in the Marion Classic final Saturday, the Marion High School girls’ basketball team continues to improve.
“I think next week when we get together for practice, they’ll realize it’s a positive thing,” head coach Kelly Robson said. “It’s been a long time since Marion has had a team in the final of this girls’ tournament.”
The Lady Warriors began the tournament with wins against Berean Academy and Belle Plaine, but could not overcome the size of Remington in the final. No team played the Broncos close though, as they played with a running clock by the third quarter of their first two games.
Zone defense confuses Berean
Robson did not plan for the girls to play zone the entire game, but felt once they were in it, there was no need to pull out.
“I fully intended to play man-to-man sometime tonight, but the zone was doing its job.”
Marion’s zone created turnovers and fast breaks that helped create a 16-10 lead by the middle of the second quarter, turning into a 24-15 halftime lead.
Berean scored four points to begin the second half, but Marion battled back with six of its own on layups from Kirsten Hansen, Katey Ehrlich and Kelli Hess, prompting a Berean timeout. By the end of the quarter, Marion led by 12, 36-24.
Up to that point, Berean had matched Marion’s press with its own, but with a comfortable lead, Marion pulled the ball out, taking 90 seconds off the clock before Bailey Robson scored from the baseline.
Both teams went back-and-forth scoring the rest of the game, neither team making notable scoring runs to increase or decrease the margin. Marion won 47-34.
Big 2nd quarter puts Dragons away early
The first quarter of the Warriors’ matchup with Belle Plaine was the most even the game would be played. Marion got out to a 6-1 lead early, thanks to free throws from Hess and two jump shots from Ehrlich.
Belle Plaine came right back, though, with a jumper and transition 3-pointer to tie the game at six. After a timeout, Marion took the lead again when Robson made a short-ranged shot, followed by a Megan Richmond 3-pointer.
Beginning the second quarter, the Lady Warriors scored 12 unanswered points. Belle Plaine scored its only points of the quarter in the last two minutes as Marion took a 25-12 lead to halftime.
The Warriors continued to control possession of the ball into the third quarter, increasing their lead to 21 by the end of the quarter at 39-18. For the game, Marion forced 20 Belle Plaine turnovers, while only committing nine.
The Warriors cruised through the fourth quarter to a 54-25 win. Coach Robson said the win marked the first time the seniors had a winning record since they began playing for the varsity.
In addition, with 11 assists against Belle Plaine and 4 against Berean, Hansen broke the previous tournament assists record of 14.
K. Ehrlich, 10 points, 5 rebounds, 1 assist; K. Hansen, 4 points, 3 rebounds, 11 assists, 2 steals; Marshelle Mermis, 4 points, 3 rebounds, 1 assist; Erika Hess, 2 points, 1 rebound, 2 assists; B. Robson, 5 points, 4 rebounds, 1 assist, 3 steals; Julia Hall, 6 points, 2 rebounds; K. Hess, 8 points, 4 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 steal; M. Richmond, 11 points, 2 rebounds, 1 assist, 2 steals; Kaelyn Thierolf, 2 points, 7 rebounds, 2 steals; Kristen Herzet, 2 points, 1 rebound, Elizabeth Meyer, 1 rebound.
Warriors overpowered by Remington in final
The Warriors’ winning streak ended Saturday against Remington, who had won both of its previous games by more than 30.
Marion began the game working its offense early, taking a 2-0 lead on free throws from Hess, but that would be the girls’ only lead. The Broncos used their size advantage down low to score four quick points, and then made a three to go up 7-2. Hess made one more free throw, but the Warriors trailed at the end of the quarter, 11-3.
Hess remained Marion’s sole scorer through the first half, scoring nine more points in the second quarter as the Warriors went to halftime down 28-12.
Remington continued adding to its lead in the third, holding the Warriors to six points and adding 11 of their own.
Down 21 entering the fourth quarter, the Warriors could not get back into the game, losing 52-25.
Robson said afterward that he was proud of Hess’s improvement, Kaelyn Thierolf’s toughness, and Hansen’s maturity.
“I asked the girls in the second half to find something to get better at, and I think each one of them will be able to identify something,” he said.
K. Ehrlich, 2 points, 1 rebound, 3 steals; K. Hansen, 2 points, 3 rebounds, 3 steals; M. Mermis, 1 rebound, 1 steal; B. Robson, 6 points, 2 rebounds, 1 steal; J. Hall, 2 rebounds; K. Hess, 15 points, 1 rebound, 1 assist; M. Richmond, 4 rebounds, 1 assist; K. Thierolf, 5 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal.