The Marion girls’ basketball team mowed through three opponents in four days to win the weather-delayed Cougar Classic at Centre, while the boys bounced back from a loss to state-ranked Sacred Heart to finish third with a 2-1 record.
The girls routed Solomon 61-23 in the tournament opener Friday, and handled Wakefield 55-40 on Saturday to reach Monday’s championship game against Elyria Christian.
The Warriors maintained a healthy lead Monday through three quarters, but stalled early in the fourth as the Eagles drew to within 43-30.
Sparked by two quick layups off of steals by Erika Hess and Kourtney Hansen, the Warriors closed out the contest with an 11-1 run to win 54-31 and claim the championship.
“I like that kind of mentality that even if we have a lead we’re not going to be satisfied with that,” coach Kelly Robson said. “We have to keep competing to the end, because too often we have let that down. It’s starting to feel good, like we deserve to be here.”
Elizabeth Meyer and Bailey Robson were named to the all-tournament team.
“She had a good scoring tournament,” Robson said of Meyer. “She led us in scoring Saturday against Wakefield, and she had 10 points in the other two games.”
The coach credited Bailey Robson’s defense for her selection.
“When Bailey comes out and plays defense like that, the other girls kind of step up and say, ‘OK, I’m going to do the same thing,’” he said. “That’s my best guess, that somebody likes that defensive effort, as I do.”
It took a missed Wakefield free throw at the end of a wild finish for the boys to escape with a 51-50 win in Monday’s third-place game.
The Bombers trailed by as many as 13 points in the first half, but made a game of it in the second after Marion’s Tyler Zinn went down with an ankle injury early in the third quarter.
Despite numerous miscues in the final two minutes, four free throws in two trips to the line by Evann Heidebrecht kept Marion ahead 51-48 with 29 seconds remaining.
Wakefield’s Trey Laffery was fouled on a 3-point try with less than a second remaining, giving the Bombers a chance to send the game to overtime. Laffery swished the first two charities, but missed the third, giving Marion a 51-50 win.
“I wasn’t real happy about how it ended, but the bottom line is that you’ve got to enjoy the win,” coach Jeff McMillin said. “We’ve got to handle things a lot better than that, but a month from now it’s not going to matter what this looked like.”
Marion defeated Rural Vista 55-39 on Friday, then lost to Sacred Heart 68-41 to set up Monday’s consolation tilt aganst Wakefield.
Zinn was named to the all-tournament team.
“We’re still a major work in progress,” McMillin said. “The main positive is that we came away with two wins.”