Fresh off of a loss Friday to Moundridge, ranked third in Class 3A, the Marion High School Warriors faced off Tuesday against the fourth-ranked team, Sedgwick, at USD 408 Sports and Aquatics Center.
As much as any, the final play of the first half demonstrated Marion’s desire to win. With 17 seconds remaining, Jordan Hett turned a steal into a court-length drive that brought Marion to within one point at halftime, 23-24.
Jacob Harper forged a 25-25 tie early in the third quarter with a powerful drive down the heart of the lane, and scored on a fast break to give Marion the lead, 29-28. By the end of the quarter, Sedgwick had regained a 1-point edge, 37-38.
Sedgwick extended the lead to 6 points, 41-47, with 4:11 remaining, as Logan Thompson pulled down two consecutive offensive rebounds before scoring.
The Cardinal lead looked as if it might grow when Marion turned the ball over on their next possession, but Warrior Scott Jones outhustled everyone to grab a loose ball on the Sedgwick end. Hett took advantage of the possession, scoring on a drive at 3:14 to cut the lead to 43-47.
Two Harper free throws narrowed the margin to 45-47. When Sedgwick pulled down a missed Marion shot, Jones made a steal and shoveled the ball to Hett, who missed but got the putback and was fouled. Hett’s free throw at 1:32 gave Marion the lead, 48-47.
Two Harper free throws in the final minute made the score 50-47, and when an errant Cardinal 3-point attempt went out of bounds with less than two seconds on the clock, it appeared Marion had sealed the win.
The inbounds pass provided one last moment of drama. Taylor Heidebrecht launched a high, arching pass that struck the volleyball standard suspended high above the court. Sedgwick got the ball back for one final play under their basket.
A desperate Cardinal 3-point attempt at the buzzer missed badly, and the Warriors had preserved the 50-47 upset victory.
“I’m just real happy, real proud,” Marion head coach Jeff McMillin said. “They were far more athletic, far bigger than we are.
“We’ve been doing a good job of following the game plan, and tonight was the night it paid off.”