MHS defeats SES, 61-47
The Marion High School boys’ basketball team began the season with a 61-47 victory at Southeast of Saline on Friday. The Warriors’ up-tempo offense and aggressive defense were too much for the Trojans to match.
Seniors Jordan Hett and Jacob Harper combined to score 50 points for MHS, with Harper scoring 26 and Hett scoring 24. SES couldn’t stop either player from getting into the lane. Hett got into the lane by using his speed to drive right past defenders, and Harper used fakes to open up lanes to drive to the basket.
Head coach Jeff McMillin said the tempo was about where he wanted it to be. He said his team made SES play faster than they wanted to.
The Warriors played aggressively on defense, jumping out into passing lanes to break up cross-court passes. Several times MHS players were able to get both hands on those passes to start a fast break the other direction.
The first quarter went back and forth, with SES making a 3-pointer to end the quarter up, 13-12. It would be the last time the Trojans held the lead. MHS held their opponents scoreless for almost four minutes to begin the second quarter, and Marion led 31-26 at halftime.
Marion scored the first basket of the third quarter, but then went on a scoring drought as SES cut the lead to 1 point. Marion ended the run with a 3-pointer, then Hett used his quick hands to steal the ball and score an easy basket.
The Trojans made another mini-run to cut the difference to 1, but MHS extended the lead back to 45-41 at the end of the third quarter.
The fourth quarter belonged to Marion. The Warriors led by 10 with 3 minutes, 5 seconds left to play when the team forced a timeout on an inbounds play by cutting off all passing angles. Hett hit a 2-point long jump shot with 1:50 left to increase the lead to 12, and SES began fouling to extend the game with 1:30 left and the score 57-45.
Harper and Hett carried most of the scoring load for Marion, but other players all made important contributions. Ethan Hett always seemed to be in the right position to get a defensive rebound. Taylor Heidebrecht was sure-handed with the ball and got into the passing lanes on defense multiple times. James Jones didn’t score in the game, but his determined defense kept SES from taking easy shots in the lane, although it also kept him on the bench much of the game with foul trouble. Zach Robson was the third-leading scorer, making a pair of timely field goals, including a 3-pointer, while the game was still in doubt.
Marion’s margin of victory was substantial, but the Warriors didn’t play as polished of basketball as McMillin expected.
“I expected a little cleaner outcome today,” he said. “We still have some things to clean up.”
Marion played Peabody-Burns on Tuesday in the first round of the Marion Classic tournament. They won the game, 80 to 42.
The Warriors play Remington at home on Friday. They will also play at home on Saturday against either Berean Academy, Belle Plaine, or Eureka.