Surge gives Warriors victory over Trojans

Staff writers

The Hillsboro High School Trojans led the Marion High School Warriors, 24-20, at halftime of their boys’ basketball game Dec. 21 in Marion, but the Warriors came back to win 58-49.

The tide turned in the third quarter as MHS was relentless in getting to the free-throw line. At the same time, HHS went on a scoring drought and got in foul trouble. MHS led 43-37 after the third quarter.

“When we got in foul trouble, it really turned,” Hillsboro head coach Darrell Knoll said.

The Warriors forced the foul trouble for Hillsboro by doing what they had done in the first half, but did it while holding on to the ball better. That was the focus of Marion head coach Jeff McMillin’s halftime adjustments.

“We really needed to start being stronger with the basketball,” McMillin said.

Holding on tight paid off in the second half. Marion and Hillsboro traded baskets and the lead until Hillsboro led 34-33, but then Marion went on a 10-0 run. Hillsboro’s Brett Weinbrenner made three free throws to end Marion’s run after being fouled by Austin Pedersen with 0.1 seconds left in the third quarter.

Marion’s offense continued to attack the lane in the fourth quarter, drawing several quick fouls on the Trojans. MHS was in the double bonus with 6:51 remaining. A pair of free throws by Jordan Hett gave the Warriors their largest lead of the night, 54-41, with 3:25 remaining. The closest Hillsboro would get the rest of the way was 54-47, and Marion won by the final score of 58-49.

The Trojans kept pace with Marion’s fast-break attack, something the Warriors’ other opponents have struggled to do this season.

“Athletically, it was as good as it’s gotten for us,” McMillin said.

Marion’s Jordan Hett led all scorers with 24 points, followed by Jacob Harper with 21. The duo combined to make 14 of 33 shots an 16 of 20 free throws.

Foul trouble for HHS forward Josh Wiebe played a part in Marion’s third-quarter surge. He scored 6 points in the post in the first half, providing a threat that gave guards Weinbrenner and Shaq Thiessen more room to work on the perimeter. When Wiebe sat with his third foul, Marion’s defense tightened on Hillsboro’s guards.

After the game, USD 408 Athletic Director Grant Thierolf told McMillin it was the first time the Warriors had gone into Christmas break undefeated since at least 1990.

Jordan Hett led MHS in scoring with 24 points; he also had 6 rebounds and 2 steals. Harper had 21 points, 4 rebounds, 1 assist, and 1 steal; Ethan Hett, 4 points, 2 rebounds, and 1 assist; James Jones, 4 points, 3 rebounds, 2 blocks, and 2 steals; Taylor Heidebrecht, 3 points, 3 rebounds, 1 assist, and 2 steals; Zac Robson, 2 points, 4 rebounds, and 1 steal. Pedersen and Wiley Lundy each had 1 rebound.

Weinbrenner led HHS in scoring with 16points; he also had 3 assists. Thiessen had 14 points, 2 rebounds, 1 assist, and 5 steals; Harry Faber, 8 points, 1 rebound, 1 assist, and 2 steals; Wiebe, 6 points, 8 rebounds, 1 block, and 2 steals; Evan Ollenburger, 3 points and 2 assists; Josh Davidson, 2 points and 2 rebounds; and Micah Allen, 1 rebound.

The crowd for both teams was raucous throughout the game, but at halftime, students from both schools told the crowd about the “green-out” with many fans wearing green shirts in honor of Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., the site of a school shooting the week before.

 

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