After leading a state-ranked, 11-2 Council Grove High School team for the majority of the second half Thursday, the Marion Lady Warriors could not hold on for the win.
Leading by one with less than five seconds left, the Braves made a putback after missing the initial game-winning shot.
“I thought we played the last possession about as well as we could, except we didn’t get that rebound,” coach Kelly Robson said.
After falling behind 6-2 early, Bailey Robson and Kirsten Hansen combined to score five points, briefly putting the Warriors ahead. Council Grove finished the first quarter leading 10-7 though.
The Braves then built a seven-point, 20-13 lead with 3 minutes left in the second quarter. Another five points from Bailey Robson helped Marion only to trail by four, 22-18 at halftime. She finished with 11 points on the night.
“The last couple of games in the Centre tournament and tonight, Bailey has really played her head off,” Kelly Robson said. “When she’s open she’s ready to put that thing up there.”
Marion began the third quarter with a 3-pointer by Kelli Hess, a jumper for Katey Ehrlich, then a steal by Hess, which she converted for a layup. The 25-22 lead was Marion’s first since the first quarter.
The Lady Warriors continued to lead the Braves throughout the quarter until the last minute, when free throws gave Council Grove a 1-point lead. Kaelyn Thierolf completed a three-point play at the end of the quarter though, putting Marion back up 34-32 going into the fourth.
Marion held its largest lead at 39-32 after opening the quarter with another three by Hess and drive by Ehrlich. The Warriors did what they could to prevent a Braves comeback, but a three within the last 90 seconds gave Council Grove a 47-46 lead.
Marion turned the ball over on its next possession, then had to foul to force free throws. Council Grove’s Kate Hula then missed the front-end of a one-and-one, which the Warriors rebounded.
On the next possession, Ehrlich drove between three defenders to make a layup to give Marion the lead.
After a Council Grove timeout with 7 seconds remaining, Hula missed a jump shot at the top of the key, which was rebounded by the Braves’ Erica Auchard. Her put-back layup went through the net as time expired.
Coach Robson said he enjoyed watching the girls compete so hard, even though they lost.
“So often these girls want me to tell them where to go,” he said. “Right now they’re just playing basketball, and I love to watch them play.”
Hess, 16; Robson, 11; Hansen, 4; Ehrlich, 10; Megan Richmond, 4; Thierolf, 3.