Berean Academy turned out to be just an opening round bump in the road for Marion, as both boys’ and girls’ teams scored wins over Wichita Homeschool and Eureka to place third in the Marion Classic.
Thursday’s matchup against Wichita was just what the doctor ordered for an ailing boys’ offense, as a Mason Pedersen 3-ball from the deep left corner and another on an inbounds play were bookends to a 10-2 run to start the game. Pedersen ripped a pinpoint pass under the bucket to Peyton Heidebrecht for a bucket-and-one to put Marion ahead 19-12 at the end of the first quarter.
The lead hovered around 7 until the third quarter, when Heidebrecht scored and was fouled. An upset Wichita coach drew a technical foul arguing the call, and with Heidebrecht’s foul shot and Pedersen’s technical shots, the unique 5-point play put Marion ahead 39-26,
Wichita turned the tables, going on an 18-6 spurt to pull within 45-44 at the end of the quarer, but Marion maintained its distance to win 60-52.
A previously anemic Marion offense shot a red-hot 48.7 percent for the game, with Pedersen scoring 18 and Heidebrecht, Zachary Stuchlik, and Noah Dalrymple each scoring 10.
The Tornadoes of Eureka were a more daunting challenge Saturday, jumping out to an 11-6 lead early. In a harbinger of things to come, Marion rallied to take a slim 19-17 edge at the half.
That edge disappeared entirely in the second half as the teams traded blows until the score was tied at the end of regulation 38-38. Peyton Heidebrecht, Pedersen, and Dalrymple scored from the field and the Warriors hit three late free throws to seal a 48-44 win.
Pedersen was the only Warrior in double figures with 14.
The Lady Warriors left little doubt in their two victories that their formula for winning is patience on offense and wreaking mayhem on defense.
Marion forced Wichita Homeschool and Eureka into a combined 55 turnovers that they converted into 37 points.
Kourtney Hansen took on the lion’s share of the scoring load, hitting for 17 in Thursday’s 42-38 win over Wichita and 23 in the third-place 41-39 win over Eureka on Saturday. She collected her points in the paint against taller opponents, on fast breaks off turnovers, and at the free throw line, where she was 12-of-21.
Sam Richmond scored 10 and hit the team’s only 3-pointer against Wichita, and Taelyn Pagel scored 7.
The Warriors will play Bluestem, Belle Plaine, and Hillsboro before winter break.