Late rally falls short as season ends for 5 county teams
More than half of Marion County’s high school basketball teams were eliminated in the first games of sub-state tournament competition this past week.
The eighth-seeded Marion boys and girls were eliminated Saturday in home play-in games in the nine-team Remington Class 2A sub-state.
Unable to overcome a second-quarter deficit, the boys lost, 66-37, while a come-from-behind effort from the girls fell a buzzer-beater short, 42-40, both against ninth-seeded Hutchinson Trinity.
The Celtics had defeated both Warrior teams just a week and a half earlier, also in Marion.
In the boys game, Marion’s last lead was 5-3 halfway through the first quarter.
The Warriors had plenty of opportunities in the rest of the quarter, but a series of missed tip-ins and rim-outs from short range led to a 14-9 deficit.
Turnovers and empty trips, often followed by fast breaks by the Celtics, swelled the deficit to 38-12 at halftime.
Back-to-back threes by sophomore guard Jonathan Freese and junior forward Caden Wilhelm followed by missed shots and missed free throws by the Celtics helped the Warriors to a 15-2 run to open the second half.
After a timeout, however, the Celtics responded with a 13-3 run of their own.
The Warriors opened the fourth quarter with another pair of threes by Freese and Wilhelm, cutting Trinity’s lead to 55-36. However, with a running clock and most starters on the bench, Trinity ended the game on an 11-1 run.
Wilhelm was Marion’s top scorer with 18 points. Freese was next with eight.
In the girls game, a spirited first quarter, marred by turnovers, fouls, and missed free throws by both teams, kept the contest low-scoring and tight, ending with an 8-6 Warrior lead.
Despite scrappy, hustling play by both teams, fast breaks by the Celtics led to a 20-15 lead for Trinity at the half.
Propelled by a pair of threes from junior point guard Calli Burkholder, the Warriors trimmed the Celtics’ lead to a single point two minutes into the third quarter, but a run by Trinity padded the lead to 32-24 by the quarter’s end.
The Celtics extended their lead to 11 before a Warrior comeback that began with strong rebounding and defense from freshman Erin Regnier and sophomore Grace Hett, a pair of threes by Burkholder, and another three by senior Jayden May.
After starting seniors May and Grace Tankersley fouled out and the Warriors were left with all underclassmen on the floor, Marion continued its comeback.
Hett swished both of two technical free throws with 4.8 seconds left. However, her three-point attempt that would have sealed a victory at the buzzer bounced off the front of the rim.
Burkholder led Warrior scorers with 15.
The boys and girls teams ended the season with identical 4-17 records.
Centre’s girls were eliminated Friday in the Claflin Class 1A Division II sub-state.
The sixth-seeded Cougars lost, 43-23, to third-seeded host Tescott, which had entered the game with a 6-11 record. Centre’s girls finished the season with a 2-17 record.
Despite having a losing record of 8-10, Centre’s boys are the top seed in the Claflin sub-state and received a first-round bye. They will face 2-18 Otis-Bison at 6 p.m. Thursday at Claflin.
The seventh-seeded Peabody-Burns boys were eliminated Thursday in the seven-team Stafford Class 1A Division II sub-state, losing 55-39 to third-seeded host Cunningham, which had entered the game with an 11-8 record.
The Warriors ended their season with a 6-14 record.
Peabody-Burns did not field a girls team this season.
Goessel’s fourth-seeded girls were eliminated in the seven-team Burrton Class 1A Division I sub-state, falling 43-39 Thursday to visiting fifth-seed Macksville, which had entered the game at 11-8.
The Goessel girls played Macksville in the first round of sub-state and lost in a close battle 43-39.
Missed free throws in the first and fourth quarters doomed the Bluebird chances. Goessel scored just two field goals and two of seven free throws, trailing only by six points at the end of one period.
After playing even in the second quarter, the Bluebirds cut the Mustangs’ margin to four after third-quarter baskets by Lyna Lehrman, Jaicee Griffin, and Emily Flaming.
The first two minutes of the fourth quarter provided a highlight reel for the Bluebirds. Aimee Funk swished a three from the left corner and Cheyenne Sawyer hit a three from the right corner to pull the Bluebirds within a point.
Sawyer got a steal and Braylyn Hoopes an offensive put-back to give Goessel its first lead of the night, 35-34. Lehrman settled under a lob and converted the basket, giving the Bluebirds a 37-34 lead with 6:19 left to play.
But in the last six minutes of the game, the Bluebirds missed three free throws and suffered from turnovers while Macksville hit five of eight free throws.
Lehrman led Goessel in scoring with 12 points. Speedster Sawyer collected 10.
The Bluebirds ended their season with an 11-8 record, identical to their opponent’s.
Staff writers Eric Meyer, Rowena Plett, and Delbert Peters contributed to this roundup.