The Marion Warriors girls’ basketball team went back-and-forth with the Council Grove Braves for the first quarter Friday night, but the Braves pulled away in the second quarter.
Marion got an early 2-0 lead with a basket by Kaelyn Thierolf, but Council Grove answered with its own basket. Katey Ehrlich scored on a drive and Megan Richmond put back an offensive rebound to give Marion a 6-2 lead.
Council Grove claimed its first lead of the night at 7-6, and the Warriors and Braves traded one-point leads for the rest of the quarter.
Corey Shields scored the final four points for Marion in the first quarter, putting back an offensive rebound and making 2-of-2 free throws. After struggling to make free throws in the Centre tournament the week before, Marion did well from the line against Council Grove, making 9-of-10. Council Grove led, 11-10, at the end of the quarter.
“For the first time in four games, we didn’t have an eight-point deficit in the first quarter,” coach Kelly Robson said.
The Warriors used a zone defense to try to prevent Council Grove’s tall and talented post players from getting easy baskets. But the zone defense made it more difficult for Marion to rebound, so the Braves scored several baskets off of third and fourth offensive rebounds. Meanwhile, Council Grove’s 1-2-1-1 zone defense caused Marion to attempt several ill-advised cross-court passes that ended in turnovers.
“We haven’t learned all we can learn about winning,” Robson said. “And when those things happen, we can hang our chins a little bit.”
The Braves extended their lead to 20-10 before Marion scored again when Ericka Herzet passed to Kelli Hess for a score, 20-12. Shields scored off another offensive rebound, 25-14, and Ehrlich made both ends of a 1-and-1 to go into halftime trailing 27-16.
Ehrlich was involved in 80 percent of Marion’s third-quarter scoring, making assists to Shields and Thierolf, sinking a pair of free throws, and scoring a layup after a steal. Erin Meierhoff’s score after an offensive rebound was the only basket Ehrlich wasn’t involved with in the quarter. Marion trailed 46-26 with one quarter remaining.
Council Grove started the fourth quarter by running a delaying offense, but even down 20 points, the Warriors continued to play with full effort. Shields made a basket and Meierhoff hit a three-pointer, but Marion still trailed 55-31.
Herzet made the front end of a 1-and-1 but missed the second free throw, and Balee Shiplett made two free throws. Julia Hall scored right as time expired as Marion lost the game, 60-36.
The Warriors’ next game is Friday at Berean Academy in Elbing.