When is a quarter greater than a half?
The Marion High School boys’ basketball team answered that question Thursday against Council Grove, when the Warriors scored 27 points in the third quarter, 4 more than in the first half, en route to a 62-39 win over the Braves at USD 408 Sports and Aquatics Center.
The Warriors held a 5-point lead, 23-18, coming out of the locker room at halftime. A hotly-contested first half gave little warning of the deluge of Marion scoring to come.
Jordan Hett got the Warriors off to a fast start, nailing a 3-point shot from the left side with less than 30 seconds elapsed in the third quarter.
In the next two minutes, Jacob Harper took charge, scoring on fast break, under the bucket, and dropping a 3-point bomb from the top of the key that left the Braves reeling as they called a time-out, trailing 33-18.
The Warriors picked up right where they left off following the time-out. Mikael Antosyck nailed a 3, Harper added another basket and Hett tallied two more, including a 3. Wiley Lundy scored on a putback, Zach Robson dropped in a long 3-point shot, and Harper capped the onslaught with a fake and drive to put Marion up 50-24 as the quarter ended.
Marion head coach Jeff McMillin had little doubt what keyed the Warrior outburst — a vast improvement in rebounding compared with the first half that allowed the Warriors to score in transitions.
“The biggest thing I talked about at half was that we were soft on the boards and let them get way too many looks at it,” McMillin said. “The challenge was in order to play how we wanted to play, we had to rebound. They stepped up to the challenge.”
Marion’s rebounding was hampered early in the game after Scott Jones picked up his second foul at 5 minutes, 44 seconds remaining in the first quarter.
“Scott’s been one of our more aggressive rebounders lately, and having him on the bench didn’t help that,” McMillin said. “That’s going to happen sometimes when you’re playing harder. I thought that when he came back in he played smart with two fouls.”
Harper carried the scoring load for Marion through most of the first quarter, accounting for 9 of the team’s 11 points, giving Marion an 11-10 lead.
Hett got more involved on the offensive end in the second quarter, slashing to the basket twice for scores, and Antosyck scored on a drive to put Marion up 21-14 at 4:43 remaining. But the offense evaporated for the next 4 minutes, until Harper found the basket at the :20 mark.
“They made it difficult for us – they did a good job of scouting,” McMillin said. “Especially at this point of the year, they’re going to know what you want to run. It’s just a point of executing.”
Harper led the Warriors in scoring with 26, followed by Hett with 17, and Antosyck with 6.
McMillan said establishing more consistent offensive balance is a goal for the Warriors in upcoming games.
“We’ve got two guys that are really established, good scorers, and we’ve got other guys that can score, and we need to keep that balance so those guys are still chipping in every game,” McMillin said. “I want to get 5, 6, 7 guys putting the ball in the basket consistently for us.”
Marion returned to action Tuesday on the road against Canton-Galva. They return home Friday to take on Berean Academy.