Two last-second shots. One made Council Grove’s Michaela Peterson a hero, and handed the Marion High School Lady Warriors a 33-32 loss Thursday at USD 408 Sports and Aquatics Center.
With 19 seconds left in the game, Erin Meierhoff hit the front end of a 1-and-1 to give the Lady Warrirors a 32-30 lead.
Marion deflected the ball out-of-bounds at :12. When Council Grove put the ball back in play. Marion blanketed Kate Hula, the Lady Braves’ leading scorer with 14 points. Peterson worked free on the right side and launched a 3-pointer that banked home with 3.8 seconds left.
“The one’s we didn’t want shooting the ball at the other end, 4 and 12, they didn’t,” Marion head coach Randy Savage said. “I’d take that one all the time for the win, and I think we’d have a really good record.”
Suddenly down a point, the Lady Warriors had one more chance after Council Grove deflected.
Inbounding from the sideline with :02.8, Megan Richmond looked downcourt and lofted a pass to Whitney Gordon, who was all alone on the baseline. Gordon gathered the ball in, squared up, and launched a potential game-winner, but the ball glanced off the edge of the rim.
“It was a nice pass, right where it needed to be,” Savage said. “She took a good shot, that’s all you can ask for.”
It was a hard pill to swallow in a game where Marion led at the end of each of the first three quarters, displaying resilience that was lacking in other games by recapturing the lead after falling behind several times.
Cold shooting and turnovers kept the Lady Warriors off the board until 2:32 of the first quarter, when Katey Ehrlich stole the ball and drove the length of the court to make the score 2-6. Marion held Council Grove scoreless while Gordon added a 3-pointer and a basket, Kaelyn Thierolf scored under the bucket, and Meierhoff hit a free-throw to stake Marion to a 10-6 lead.
“They played a 1-3-1 press, we hadn’t seen one, and we panicked a little bit. We figured it out, though, and they quit,” Savage said.
Council Grove scored the first six points of the second quarter, before Gordon scored on a putback to tie the score at 12. Marion went back up when Richmond found Kelli Hess open under the bucket on an inbounds play, and the Lady Warriors carried a 17-14 advantage into halftime.
Marion fell behind again in the third, 18-22, but regained the lead, 23-22, with free throws from Richmond and a 3-point shot from Ehrlich. Marion trailed by 1 when Gordon made a steal and pulled up from 5 feet to hit a shot that gave Marion a 25-24 lead going into the fourth quarter.
Gordon had one of her best all-around games of the season, in defense, rebounding, and scoring from all over the floor to collect a team-high 19 points.
While disappointed with the loss, Savage expressed satisfaction with the progress the Lady Warriors have shown in recent games.
“I thought we played with a lot more poise the last three or four days,” Savage said. “We’re doing a better job of getting the ball inside and getting some better looks. We just need to hit some more free throws.”
Marion was back in action Tuesday at Canton-Galva. They play Friday against Berean Academy at USD 408 Sports and Acquatics Center.