For a team building confidence with wins in two of their last three games, what the Marion High School Lady Warriors didn’t need Friday was a matchup against Berean Academy, ranked fourth in the state in Class 2A. Berean easily mastered the Lady Warriors, 55-37, at USD 408 Sports and Aquatics Center.
Berean dominated play from the outset, raining 3-pointers as they raced to a 23-6 advantage at the end of the first quarter. Berean defenders repeatedly disrupted Marion’s offense by forcing turnovers and harassing shooters, leaving the Lady Warriors to score mostly off of missed shots.
“We should have stayed in our man-to-man the whole time,” Marion head coach Randy Savage said.
“We played a little man to begin with, then we switched to a zone. They had five threes in the first quarter,” Savage said. “We got out of it, and they didn’t hit any more threes the rest of the night against our man.”
Little changed after Lady Warrior Kaelyn Thierolf hit the opening shot of the second quarter. Marion scored just twice from the field after that, on putbacks by Whitney Gordon and Katey Ehrlich. Berean steadily forged ahead, using fast break baskets and free throws to extend the lead to 40-13 at the half.
Marion fared better in the second half, when Berean reserves saw significant court time. Gordon scored three baskets down low in a 10-4 Marion run to open the third quarter, and matched Berean basket for basket the rest of the period. The Lady Warriors closed the game with an 8-2 surge in the final three minutes, with Gordon and Corey Shields accounting for the scoring.
Savage noted one area in which the Lady Warriors improved from a loss to Berean earlier this season.
“Berean pressured us and we handled it pretty well,” Savage said. “The first time we played they got all but 4 points from turnovers and second-chance points. That didn’t happen this time.”
Marion picked up its second win of the season Jan. 31 over Canton-Galva, 30-15, in Canton.
Ehrlich was the top scorer for Marion with 11, followed by Gordon with 10.
“We were making better decisions with the ball, and applied some pressure to them to create some turnovers,” Savage said.
“We did a better job of getting posted and getting the ball inside,” Savage said. “We did what we needed to do to beat that team.”
The Lady Warriors faced off against another state-ranked team Tuesday when they hosted Ell-Saline.
A 16-0 first-quarter run by the Lady Cardinals left Marion in a hole too deep to dig out of, and Ell-Saline handed the Lady Warriors a 52-34 loss.
The Lady Warriors will be on the road Friday against Bennington.