Marion falters after pair
After rallying a week earlier in the Cougar Classic, relocated to Marion because of COVID-19, the Warriors failed to take advantage of homecoming Thursday to build on recent victories.
Warrior victories a week earlier over winless Hope and almost equally hapless Wakefield failed to translate into momentum against a stronger opponent at home Thursday as Marion (3-11) lost 82-38 on a running-clock fourth quarter to Council Grove (7-5).
The Braves owned the paint, having little trouble penetrating or passing to the weak spot in Marion’s zone at the top of the key, then deftly dishing off to cutters for layups or passing to shooters for deep threes.
The Warriors, on the other hand, were forced to settle mainly for perimeter shooting. Although often unguarded, many shots were off the mark and led to fast breaks the other way thanks to the taller and more athletic Braves’ rebounding.
Marion’s defense could be tenacious at times but often closed a shade late and not always under control, seemingly leading to as many fouls as stops.
Offensively, the Warriors also struggled with the Braves’ pressing defense.
Council Grove led 21-7 after the first quarter and never looked back, posting a 47-14 advantage by halftime and extending its lead to 69-28 by the end of the third quarter, when the game switched to a running clock.
Two players accounted for nearly all of Marion’s scoring. Sophomore guard Jack Lanning led the way with 15 points. Senior forward Caden Wilhelm chipped in 10.
In a much more competitive game, also coming after back-to-back victories the week before, Marion’s girls (4-10) lost 54-43 to Council Grove (9-4).
Marion trailed by just two after the first quarter and clung to a two-point lead with a minute to go in the half before Council Grove hit a three with 53 seconds left.
A turnover by freshman Erin Regnier, who had just checked in, was almost stolen back by sophomore Grace Hett, but she was called for a foul.
Hett was successful on her next steal, intercepting a Council Grove pass with eight seconds left. Junior Calli Burkholder then swished a contested three from the left wing, but the shot left her hands a split second after the buzzer and was disallowed.
Marion came out a bit tentative in the second half, and Council Grove built a double-digit lead, but the Warriors narrowed it to just seven points in the fourth quarter before losing by 11.
Hett was Marion’s leading scorer with 14. Burkholder had 9.