Trojans cruise past Warriors
Two lots of news awaited the Marion High School basketball coaches Jason Hett and Dave Raymer Tuesday night in the Marion County battle with the hosting Hillsboro Trojans.
The good; Marion’s got the remainder of 2021 to try and figure out how to get on track, but the bad; high powered Hillsboro is not a team to look for answers against.
Hillsboro had little problem in either contest with the girls rolling to a 69-33 win and the nightcap also ending in an abridged 78-14 score, courtesy of a running clock.
The Trojans burst out of the gate in the opener behind a scorching 60 percent shooting from the field for a 21-5 lead after one quarter, and a 42-12 edge by the break.
Zaylee Werth and Savannah Shahan combined to drop 28 points on Marion with 14 each. Reese Hefley and Emersyn Funk added 10 a piece.
The Warriors’ luck worsened in the nightcap with the Trojans exploding for a 25-4 lead after the first quarter, and Hillsboro putting the game away by halftime with a 57-9 advantage behind a blazing 75 percent from the floor.
Hillsboro turned defense into offense, forcing 32-Warrior turnovers into hitting 60 percent of its shots, while its defense limited Marion to a paltry 14 percent on the night.
Four of the five Trojan starters scored in double figures, paced by Brekyn Ratzlaff’s game-high 15 points.
After several lopsided losses, younger players on Marion’s boys basketball team appear to be stepping up and providing hope for improvement.
After being walloped in the first game of their own tournament last week and narrowly losing in their second game Friday, Marion finally found its way into the victory column Saturday, capturing fifth place in its six-team Marion Classic with a 49-42 victory over Eureka.
Sophomores who had been further down the scoring list in previous games led the way for the Warriors against Eureka.
Cooper Bailey, a 5-foot-8 sophomore guard, led all scorers with 15, including two threes. Also in double figures was 5-10 sophomore guard Jack Lanning with 14, also including two threes.
Senior guard Campbell Winter chipped in seven, including a game-high five free throws, and junior forward Caden Wilhelm added a couple of baskets and a free throw.
The Warriors jumped out to a 19-7 lead in the first quarter and hung on in the second half, despite being outscored 26-19.
Winter’s five-of-six shooting from the charity stripe provided a crucial advantage for the Warriors, who hit 50% of their free throws compared to just 36% for Eureka.
Marion arrived at Saturday’s fifth-place game after losing 47-42 to Halstead on Friday and being shellacked 62-29 three days earlier by Wichita Independent.
The Warriors got off to a slow start Friday, trailing 17-3 after the first quarter, but rallied in the second half, outscoring Halstead 28-16.
Wilhelm, the sole Marion player named to the all-tournament team, led the Warriors with 14 points, including going eight-of-nine from the free-throw line.
Bailey added 10, and Lanning scored nine, all in the third quarter.
In the Warriors’ opening game, a single quarter proved decisive.
At first last Tuesday, the Warriors were competitive trailing by just two points at half only to be outscored 33-2 in the third quarter.
Wilhelm again was the leading scorer, with 13. Trevor Schafers scored eight, and Lanning six.
Like their counterparts on the boys team, Marion’s girls went 1-2 at the Marion Classic. But because their victory came in their first game rather than their third, they ended up in fourth place.
Saturday’s final game against Eureka was a one-sided affair, with Marion trailing 49-7 at halftime after digging themselves into a 30-5 hole in the first quarter.
With Eureka emptying its bench in the second half, the Warriors were able to make the final score a bit more respectable, 65-26.
As with the boys, underclassmen led the way. Sophomore shooting guard Grace Hett led Marion with 15, including a pair of threes. All but four of her points came during Marion’s 13-point third quarter.
The Warriors’ next leading scorer was freshman Erin Regnier with five. Regnier did not play in the Warriors’ first game but came off the bench and played all four quarters of the second, hitting both of her free throws.
In Friday’s game, a 52-23 loss to Halstead, Marion again got off to a slow start, trailing 19-4 after the first quarter and 34-12 at halftime. Halstead’s starters continued to pour it on during a 18-6 third quarter before the Dragons finally cleared their bench in the fourth quarter.
No Marion player scored in double figures. Freshman Kenna Wesner led the team with six points. Sophomore Tessa Mendoza was next with five, including a three.
In last Tuesday’s opening round victory over Wichita Independent, senior Jayden May and junior Calli Burkholder led the team with 11 each. Hett, Wesner, and senior Grayce Tankersley each contributed eight to provide balanced scoring.
The game was tight, with the Warriors trailing by one after the first quarter, leading by five at half, and tied after the third period.
Marion blew the game open in the final period, scoring 11 while holding the Panthers to a single three and one-of-five shooting from the line.
The top-ranked Trojans continued to dominate opponents Friday, tripling the score of the redundantly named Lyons Lions to record a 60-20 victory, Hillsboro’s fourth of the season.
In capturing the championship of a weeklong non-league tournament at Moundridge, the Trojans earlier defeated the host Wildcats 60-42 on Thursday and Inman 65-37 last Tuesday.
In Friday’s game, Hillsboro jumped out to a 20-6 lead after one quarter and extended the lead to 44-8 at halftime.
Junior point guard Brekyn Ratzlaff led Hillsboro with five three-pointers while aggressive defense kept Moundridge at bay.
Senior Duncan Duell had four steals, senior small forward Grayson Ratzlaff had three, and senior power forward Matthew Potucek had two.
The Trojans outshot the Lions 48% to 31%, hit 35% of their threes compared to just 20% for Lyons, and recorded 18 assists and 15 steals vs. five assists and just one steal for Lyons.
Ball-handling and rebounding also proved to be crucial in Thursday’s game against Moundridge.
The Trojans and Wildcats shot similar percentages from three (38%), overall (38% and 41%), and from the free-throw line (76% and 75%). But the Trojans managed five steals to the Wildcats’ one and 26 rebounds to the Wildcats’ 20.
Against Inman, the Trojans led in rebounding 29-19, assists 11-8, steals 9-5, and shooting percentage 49% to 37%, with Inman’s only statistical advantage being three-point percentage, 58% to 29%.
Despite an earlier loss, Hillsboro’s girls kept pace with its boys, sweeping all three of their games in the Moundridge Classic by at least 20 points.
On Friday, the girls beat Lyons, 46-26. Thursday, Moundridge was their victim, 49-25. Last Tuesday, the Trojans defeated Inman, 57-35.
Shooting was crucial against Moundridge, as the Wildcats outrebounded the Trojans 24-22 but shot a cold 27% versus Hillsboro’s 40% overall and 44% from three.
“I was interested to see how our girls would respond since Moundridge was the team that beat us last year in the sub-state finals,” coach Nathan Hiebert said. “I was very proud of the girls’ performance.”
Hillsboro struggled early on broken assignments and Moundridge’s zone but picked up the pressure defensively in the second quarter.
“We showed some great patience against their zone and started exposing a lot of gaps,” Hiebert said. “We were able to get some great outside looks . . . and we were able to get to the basket several times.”
Zaylee Werth led the team in scoring with 11, and Sammie Saunders was close behind with 10. Reese Hefley has 9, and Savannah Shahan 8 to provide balanced scoring.
“It makes other teams have to respect everyone that is on the floor,” Hiebert said. “Zaylee once again lead us in steals and assists. She does an awesome job getting her hands on the ball defensively and loves creating for her teammates.”
Against Inman, the Trojans outrebounded the Teutons 27-15 and had better passing and ball-handling with 14 assists and 16 steals versus 9 assists and 11 steals. Hillsboro also outshot Inman 46% to 33% from the field.
Last modified Dec. 15, 2021