For a while Friday, it looked like Kelly Robson’s team had turned the corner.
Playing against what he’s tabbed as one of the best two teams in the league, the Marion girls’ basketball team jumped to a 10-1 first quarter advantage.
But a senior-laden Hutchinson Trinity Catholic squad dug in and clawed back. A 10-0 burst to begin the fourth quarter swung the tide for good in favor of the Celtics, who won 32-27.
“I’m of two minds a little bit,” Robson said after the game. “Tell me we’re going to be ahead in the last two, three minutes of the game, I’m going to be really excited. And I was excited. And the girls played hard like they always do, I think.
“There is of course, disappointment that we didn’t finish it out.”
After trailing the entire game, the Celtics took the lead when a Warriors possession produced three close-range shots that refused to fall. Hutch Trinity finally corralled a rebound, passed the ball upcourt, and drove hard to the basket, flipping the ball up and in, drawing contact for an effortless and-1. The free throw made it a 25-23 Trinity lead with 2 1/2 minutes left.
Marion never led again.
“Those girls over there at Hutch have been in a lot of close games,” Robson said. “Our girls generally haven’t been in those kind of games. Hopefully we learned something tonight.”
Kourtney Hansen led the Warriors with 8 points on 4-of-6 shooting from the field. She made cuts to the basket and her teammates were able to find her.
“Early in the game, that was probably the best offense we’ve run all season against man-to-man,” Robson said. “They were kind of trying to come out and double-team us a little bit and we were able to slip some passes in there.”
Elizabeth Meyer had 6 for Marion, Kirsten Hansen had 5, and Julia Hall had 4.
When Hutchinson switched its defense to a 2-3 zone, however, Marion’s strategy of passing inside turned against it.
“When we have a three-point lead or a five-point lead and they’re playing zone, there’s no reason for us to get all excited about jamming passes inside, and we did,” Robson said.
Marion finished the game with 25 turnovers, including three consecutive down the stretch while the team tried to come back.
“We had turnovers in places that you wish you wouldn’t have them, but I’m not down on the girls at all,” Robson said. “We held a really good team down to 32 points. I’ll take that.”
Marion faced Berean on Tuesday and lost, according to boys’ basketball coach Jeff McMillin.
Robson could not be contacted as of press time Tuesday, and McMillin said he could not remember the score of the game, estimating the final differential to be around 10 points.