Role players step up for Warrior boys

Staff writer

The shots weren’t falling for Jordan Hett and Jacob Harper Tuesday at Ell Saline.

While Hett still had 11 points by continuously getting into the paint, Harper only had four points on the night and did not score until midway through the third quarter.

Every other player for Marion stepped up to allow the Warriors to defeat Ell-Saline, 38-23.

In the first 1 minute, 30 seconds of the game, Zac Robson had a steal and a corner 3-pointer — assisted with a sharp pass from Hett. Forward James Jones had three offensive rebounds, two on the same possession. Taylor Heidebrecht forced a turnover by applying full-court pressure.

Throughout the game, head coach Jeff McMillin subbed out those starters for Austin Pedersen, Ethan Hett, and Wiley Lundy. Those players — with two steals and two 3-pointers from Pedersen, and two bombs from Ethan Hett — allowed Marion to stretch a 5-3 first quarter lead to 23-7 at the end of the second quarter.

“Everybody played really hard tonight; I never complained about effort during the game,” McMillin said. “Some nights shots don’t fall. I don’t always judge a game by how we looked on offense.”

On Tuesday, McMillin’s main judgment was ruled on the glass. Rebounding was a point of emphasis because of Ell-Saline’s athleticism. Nine different Warriors recorded rebounds in the contest. Lundy led the way with six rebounds, four offensive.

“Wiley has played really well the last four games in a row,” McMillin said.

Harper and James Jones had five rebounds apiece. Jones had four offensive boards.

“It deflates the defense a little bit,” McMillin said of getting offensive rebounds. “They work hard to make you miss a shot and then you get another one. You’re probably going to get a good look.”

Marion’s pressure defense was a key component to the victory. Robson, Harper, and Pedersen all had two steals. More turnovers were created when two Warriors would trap an Ell-Saline player as he crossed midcourt.

“We’re starting to understand when to go, when to get the trap,” McMillin said.

While Jordan Hett was the high scorer for Marion, Zach Robson had three 3-pointers for 9 points. Ethan Hett had five points. Jordan Hett also led the team in assists with four.

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