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Warriors lose Marion Classic openers

News editor

The wrong set of Warriors won out Monday at the Marion Classic basketball tournament, as Marion’s boys and girls teams both lost to Berean Academy in opening round games at USD 408 Sports and Aquatic Center.

Looking to capitalize on a season-opening 35-19 win Friday at Southeast of Saline, the Lady Warriors faced off against a taller, more experienced Berean squad.

Marion scorers got off to a sluggish start, trailing 10-4 at the end of the first quarter.

Coming out after the buzzer, the Lady Warriors switched from zone to man defense and quickly forced a steal that Courtney Herzet converted into a long 3-pointer. After Berean stretched the lead to 14-7, Kourtney Hansen hit two free throws before heading to the sideline with an injury. That sparked an 8-3 run that pulled Marion to within 2 points at the half, 17-15.

Sam Richmond and Allie Molleker scored before Berean reeled off a flurry of points to lead 27-19. Hansen responded with a steal and fast break dish to Taelyn Pagel. Richmond canned two more shots to trim Berean’s lead to 29-25.

Trailing 32-25 going into the fourth quarter, Berean turned up the heat defensively, forcing several Marion turnovers. While Hansen scored 5 and Pagel dropped in a late layup, Berean prevailed 40-32.

Richmond led Marion in scoring with 8 points, followed by Hansen with 7 and Molleker with 6.

The shooting touch that eluded the boys at Southeast of Saline in a 68-37 loss was still in hiding Monday against Berean.

The home Warriors matched up well against the visitors, and worked the offense to get good shots, but time and again the ball clanged off the rim and refused to drop through.

Trailing 19-2 in the second quarter, Zachary Stuchlik tallied a couple of free throws, Mason Pedersen connected on a deep 3-ball, and Stuchlik nailed two more charities to narrow the lead to single digits at 19-11. Berean answered with two buckets before a buzzer-beating 3-pointer launched by Stuchlik almost predictably rattled around the cylinder and dropped out.

The Warriors hit only 2 of 16 shots in the first half, and went 4-for-20 in the second.

Tough defense and free throws from Stuchlik and Pedersen kept the score from getting out of hand, and Marion outscored Berean 11-6 in the fourth quarter, but the visitors coasted to a 41-28 win.

Free throws were a bright spot on offense, as Marion hit 83 percent from the line. The Warriors scored 15 charities, 2 points more than they scored from the field.

Stuchlik scored half the team’s points to lead Marion scorers with 14, and Pedersen chipped in 9. Peyton Heidebrecht dropped in 5.

In the girls’ win at SES, Marion fell behind early, 7-3. but Hansen ignited an 8-2 run with 3-point-play to put Marion ahead 11-9 at the end of the first quarter.

From there, the Lady Warriors never looked back, using a stifling zone defense to shut down the Trojans for more than 7 minutes as Marion took a 22-11 lead into the locker room.

Marion led by as many as 20 points in the second half before settling for the 35-19 win.

Hansen led Marion scoring with 11.

The Warriors will be in action again Thursday against Wichita Homeschool, with the girls’ game scheduled to tip at 7 p.m and the boys following. The outcome of those games will determine their opponents and game times for Saturday’s tournament finale.

Last modified Dec. 8, 2016

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