Marion came tantalizingly close to upsetting higher-seeded Wellsville in a substate semifinal game Thursday at Eskridge, but bowed out of the season with a 40-34 loss.
Scoring just one basket in the game’s first 10 minutes, the Lady Warriors were down 19-2 in the second quarter to a Wellsville team that had beaten its 11 previous foes by an average of 23 points.
But with 22 seconds left in the game, Kourtney Hansen’s putback of a missed trey by Sam Richmond had the Lady Warriors poised to complete an improbable comeback, trailing just 37-34.
They forced Wellsville into calling timeout by denying an inbounds pass, but when Lady Eagles guard Sydney Dwyer collided with Marion’s Corin Parmley on the ensuing play, Parmley was called for a blocking foul.
Dwyer canned two charities, then flipped in a third after a Marion missed shot and foul, to secure a spot in the final for Wellsville.
“To even imagine we’d get back to a 3-point game close to the end of that was just way out of my thinking,” coach Kelly Robson said. “We made a run at it. I’m proud of them for staying in there and continuing to try to fight, but we just had too big of a hole to start with.”
Wellsville’s pressure defense forced Marion into 6 turnovers, 2 missed shots, and another shot that was blocked in the game’s first 4 minutes before Hansen finally put the Lady Warriors on the board with a shot that made the score 10-2.
“The pressure that Wellsville was applying was getting into our heads a bit,” Robson said.
After 9 more Wellsville points, Marion closed out the half on a 10-2 run, with Marissa Jacobsen, Courtney Herzet, Taelyn Pagel, Sam Richmond, and Hansen all collecting points. Marion trailed 21-12 at the break.
The Lady Warriors briefly narrowed the gap midway through the third quarter, but trailed 31-21 going into the fourth.
Molly Hess scored on Marion’s first possession of the quarter, and a Richmond basket in transition and 2 free throws by Herzet pulled the Lady Warriors to within 6, 33-27, with 5 minutes to play. Wellsville responded with its last field goal of the game, a trey, and a score by Parmley and a 3-pointer by Pagel made the score 36-32, setting the stage for the final minute.
Hansen led Marion scorers with 10 points. The Lady Warriors finished the season with a record of 15-7.
“I don’t know what anybody else expected out of this season, and I don’t know what I expected, but to think about a team replacing so many players, so many points, so many rebounds, so much leadership, and getting 15 wins, honestly, that was beyond my expectations,” Robson said.