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Marion salvages split with Ell-Saline

Valentine’s Day was bittersweet for Marion High School basketball teams Friday night, visiting Brookville for a pair of games with the Ell-Saline Cardinals. 

It turned sour for the girls when their cold free-throw shooting cost them in a 53-48 overtime win, dropping them to 3-14 on the season and 1-5 in league play. 

The boys were finally rewarded with a sweet victory when they put a three-game slide to rest, keeping the Cardinals winless with a 71-66 win. 

The victory ups the Warriors’ mark to 2-15 overall and 1-5 in HOA action. 

Marion travels Friday to Elyria Christian for a road test with the Eagles. 

Boys rally for win

Members of the 1980 Class 1A state champion Cardinals were on hand to watch the Cardinals take on the Warriors, whose best scoring output prior to Friday, was a modest 46 points.

The senior duo of Jaxton Tracy, and Luke Dawson, made sure that changed, combining for 36 points with season-highs of 20 and 16 points. Braedon Mercer also added 17 in the victory.

Marion wasted no time pouncing on the Cardinals, exploding out of the gate for a 24-13 lead — the most points scored by the Warriors in a quarter this year. 

Marion’s engine started sputtering the second quarter, though, and the Cardinals took the 32-31lead by halftime with a 19-7 explosion of their own. 

Tracy refused to let the Warriors roll over in the third quarter. He dropped 13 of Marion’s 21 points in time of peril, securing a 52-51 lead to start the fourth quarter. 

Taegan Bradley single-handedly kept the Cardinals in the game, scoring 11 of his game-high 24 points in the third quarter alone. 

The Warriors used the free-throw line to seal up their second win, sinking 13-of-17 in the final frame, and 18-30 overall, outscoring the Cardinals by 10 at the line in the fourth quarter.

Girls tumble in OT

While the boys used the free throw line to grind out a win, it proved to be a shortcoming for the girls. Marion’s 35% on 16-for-46 helped the Cardinals force overtime and survive for a 53-48 win.

The game got off to a ragged start with both teams racking up more turnovers than field goals ending up in a 6-6 tie after the first quarter.

Both teams regained their footing the second quarter, but Marion still had the Cardinals hot on its tail by halftime, clinging to a 20-19 lead after narrowly outscoring Ell-Saline, 14-13. 

The Warriors got a balanced scoring attack, paced by Jayden May’s game-high 16 points, complimented by 13 from Chloe Burkholder, and 12 from Megan Neufeld.

Despite the offensive effort they couldn’t forge enough of a lead to slam the door on ES. 

Marion had its chances, stretching its lead as far as 30-19 with a 10-0 run early in the third quarter. 

The Cardinals answered right back, outscoring the Warriors 16-14 the third quarter, using a 14-1 run to overtake the lead at 35-34 heading down the final stretch. 

The Warriors had plenty of chances to end the game in regulation, however, an ugly 5-of-17 from the free-throw line kept Marion from ever pulling away by more than two possessions. 

It was the waning seven seconds in regulation that may haunt the Warriors with Reece Ditto picking off a pass with the Warriors clinging to a 44-42 lead. 

Ditto was fouled on the drive to the basket and she sent the game to bonus coverage, draining two free throws. 

The game took an eternity with a combined 82 free throws taken, and both teams lost three players in regulation due to fouls. 

The Cardinals’ 20-for-36 from the free-throw line helped them outlast Marion in overtime, 9-4.

Last modified Feb. 20, 2020

 

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