Marion girls advance in substate; boys out
The Marion Lady Warriors rode Kourtney Hansen’s 27-point performance Monday into the second round of substate play, easily dispatching Central Heights 52-34 at the Sports and Aquatic Center.
While seven other Marion players scored, Hansen accounted for more than half the team’s points. She did so in familiar style, capitalizing on steals and fast-break layups and elusively weaving her way through packed in defenders for short-range buckets.
Marion’s best performances this season have come when playing from a lead, and the Lady Warriors wasted no time in taking control Tuesday, bolting out to a 10-0 lead. Once Central Heights got on the board, the visitors kept pace the remainder of the quarter, trailing 19-8 going into the second.
The Lady Warriors turned up the dial on defense, holding Central Heights to just 3 points over the next 5 minutes. Turnovers short-circuited several Marion scoring opportunities, but an Alli Molleker drive and a nifty midcourt steal and score by Hansen put the Lady Warriors up by 17, 28-11. Marion held a 14-point edge at the half, 30-16.
Central Heights never found an answer for Marion’s defensive riddle in the second half, as the rock-steady Lady Warriors notched their 15th win of the season to stay alive in postseason play.
The next hurdle in the Lady Warriors’ quest for a state tournament berth comes Thursday when they travel to Eskridge for a 6 p.m. match-up with second-seed Wellsville, 17-3.
The Lady Eagles notched their 11th consecutive win Monday by crushing Osage City, 65-35. Their only losses have been to state-ranked 4A foes Paola and Baldwin, and 5A Lansing. Wellsville’s average margin of victory during its win streak is 23 points.
Marion’s defense will have to be at its best against a team that features six seniors, balanced scoring, and four players capable of team-leading scoring performances.
If Marion can get past Wellsville and make it to Saturday’s final, they could face a familiar foe. Top-seed Council Grove beat Marion earlier in the season, and a semifinal win Thursday against Mission Valley would set up a rematch.
Marion headed to Council Grove on Tuesday with the memory of a 26-point January loss to the Braves one they were determined to erase.
Council Grove took an early lead, but Marion defenders played enough savvy defense to preclude a big run like the one that sank them before.
The Warriors refused to go away, and bit by bit whittled into the Braves’ lead until they were poised to tie the score with 3 minutes to play. But consecutive turnovers were their unraveling, as the Braves held on for a 50-43 win, ending the Warriors’ season at 5-16.
Additional information was not available as of press time.