The Marion High School boys’ basketball team never led its 71-53 loss to Southeast of Saline Friday night, but coach Jeff McMillin did not blame the players’ effort.
“They were about as lights out as I’ve seen coaching against,” he said. “I thought we played hard, but there’s a difference between playing hard and playing with intensity.”
Southeast jumped out to a 7-2 lead within the first 90 seconds of the game, and continued pouring points in, outmuscling the Warriors down low and making three three-pointers in the first quarter.
The Warriors broke an 8-point, 10-2 deficit when seniors Zach Robson and Taylor Heidebrecht scored six in a row. A floater by Robson brought the score within two at 10-8, but a Trojan three began a 13-3 run to end the quarter at 23-11.
Southeast of Saline continued making their jump shots in the second quarter, outscoring the Warriors 19-12 to take a 42-23 lead into halftime.
Heidebrecht, Grif Case and Tim Knolla combined for 13 in the third quarter, slightly outscoring the Trojans 13-8 in the third quarter.
The 53-37 lead Southeast held over the Warriors at the start of the fourth quarter was too much to overcome though, and the Trojans won 71-53.
“I’m not as upset with my guys as much as I’m impressed with Southeast,” McMillin said. “We’re going to bounce back and make runs ourselves this season.”
Before the Warriors played Friday, McMillin had said returning players would have to adjust to scoring more. Heidebrecht and Knolla led the team with 16 and 12 points apiece, while Case and junior Jacob Baldwin each scored 7.
“I had a feeling we had guys that were competent scorers,” McMillin said. “We’re still confident in what we do, and we’ll keep trying to get better.”
The Warriors’ next three games are at home as a part of the Marion Classic, which began Monday. The Warriors play first at 8:15 p.m. Thursday against Berean Academy, then at 5:30 p.m. Friday against Belle Plaine. Games Saturday will be determined by team standings after pool play.
M. Pederson — 3 points, 1 steal
T. Knolla — 12 points, 4 steals, 3 rebounds
T. Heidebrecht — 16 points, 3 assists
Z. Robson — 3 points, 3 assists
G. Case — 7 points, 4 rebounds
J. Jones — 5 points, 2 rebounds
J. Baldwin — 7 points, 4 rebounds