Injuries mounted for the Marion girls’ basketball team Tuesday against Ell-Saline in a 47-27 loss.
Head coach Kelly Robson said point guard Erin Meierhoff was still not 100 percent after an ankle injury in December. Her bum ankle was not helped when she hit the deck in the first quarter.
Katey Ehrlich was suffering from flu-like symptoms and played fewer minutes in a more restricted role.
In the game, guard Balee Shiplet suffered a rib injury and forward Erica Herzet said she felt a pop in her left hand, above her ring finger, and did not play much in the second half.
These losses affected Marion in two crucial statistical categories: turnovers and rebounding.
Ell-Saline prided itself on full-court pressure. Meirhoff faced double teams up the court on nearly every possession. On Tuesday, Meierhoff was often stranded while her teammates rushed up the floor to set up the offense. Ell-Saline created 14 steals and numerous other turnovers. Three Ell-Saline players had more than three steals with senior forward Erin Wikoff leading the way with five takeaways.
“They pressure the heck out of you,” Robson said.
The Cardinals also pounded the offensive glass. Ell-Saline recorded 15 offensive rebounds. Despite this advantage, Robson could not switch to man-to-man defense because he did not want to give Ell-Saline’s post players even better looks and he did not want to tire a depleted squad.
“We just didn’t have the manpower tonight,” Robson said of the ability to play man-to-man defense.
Wikoff was a one-woman wrecking crew for Ell-Saline. On top of the steals and rebounds, she had 10 points and two assists. Ehrlich is usually the first defender back in transition, Robson said. With more Warriors crunching into the lane looking for offensive rebounds, easy outlet passes opened up for Wikoff in the third quarter. Ell-Saline scored 17 points in the third to take a 37-21 lead.
Two Warriors did respond well with more playing time than usual. Guard Kelli Hess led the team with 10 points, including a 3-pointer and several contested layups off drives. Forward Megan Richmond was equally aggressive en route to eight points.
Richmond and Hess also formed an aggressive tandem on the left side of Marion’s 2-3 zone. Hess had three steals for the Warriors; Richmond had two. Richmond also had four rebounds.