There was a play in the second quarter Tuesday where Marion guard Kirsten Hansen slowed a fast breaking Hutchinson Trinity guard by forcing her to the sideline. With her teammates running back to help, Hansen seized the opportunity to poke the basketball away from her opponents grasp, safely out of bounds.
Only a few plays later, Katey Ehrlich executed a perfect box out on her opponent, sticking her backside into the Trinity player and waiting for the ball to bound off the rim into her hands.
The Warriors also completed several hustle plays. Forward Kaelyn Thierolf dived for rebounds twice. Again, Hansen forced two turnovers with the game in hand in the fourth quarter, one was fighting for a rebound.
It was these types of plays that allowed the Warriors to keep the margin with Trinity to about a 12-point Celtic lead throughout the game. The Warriors went on a 6-0 run at the end of the third quarter, boosted by full court pressure applied by Hansen and Ehrlich, which created three turnovers and eight stops for Marion. The margin at the end of the third was 29-22.
However, a spree of turnovers and free-throw opportunities allowed the Celtics to pull away with a 44-25 victory.
The Warriors committed 18 turnovers in the game, 10 of which were not steals.
“We just have a lot of silly ones that go right through our hands,” senior guard Erin Meierhoff said. “We can’t really practice to eliminate turnovers.”
Head coach Kelly Robson believes that some of those turnovers will be eliminated as the Warriors continue to play together.
“It’s going to be a process,” he said. “Our two older classes have not played a lot of basketball. At some point the game will start to slow down for you.”
There were signs of progress throughout the game. Meierhoff scored 10 points on senior night.
Junior forward Megan Richmond had six rebounds to tie Kaelyn Thierolf for the team lead. She also had three steals and a block.
“That’s what we need her to do,” Meierhoff said of Richmond.
As a freshman, Hansen has shown promise for future seasons.
“She is just full of energy,” Meierhoff said. “She sees everything through a positive view.”
Robson also pointed out that the Warriors have increased the season win total from three games a year ago to five games at 5-15.
Foul trouble hinders comeback at Bennington
The Warriors’ game Friday at Bennington was neck-and-neck in the first quarter until Thierolf picked up her second foul.
After that, Bennington took the lead for the rest of the game, increasing it to 10 points early in the third quarter. As usual, the Warriors made the game competitive again with a surge in the third quarter to cut the difference to two when Meierhoff banked in a three-pointer to trail 34-32.
The comeback was stymied by further foul trouble when Thierolf fouled out with 3 minutes, 36 seconds left and Ehrlich fouled out with 2:00 left.
The rest of the team kept the game close until they had to foul to extend the game. As they did a week earlier, Bennington’s players made most of their free throws down the stretch, while several three-pointers rimmed out for Marion. Bennington won, 51-42.