The Marion High School boys’ basketball team got a fast start and never looked back against the Eureka Tornadoes on Saturday in the championship game of the Marion Classic.
Jordan Hett had 5 points in the first 95 seconds of the game and 10 in the first 3:35 en route to a 23-point scoring night in less than 18 minutes played. The Warriors jumped out to a 25-4 lead before Eureka scored a 3-pointer to end the first quarter with Marion ahead, 25-7.
Jacob Harper joined Hett in piling up points in the second quarter, reaching 20 points with a minute left in the period. Marion ended the first half with a 42-20 lead, and Eureka would get no closer the rest of the game.
Most of the time when Marion got a rebound or a steal, the Warriors pushed the tempo hard, resulting in many fast-break baskets.
Even when Marion set up its half-court offense, the Warriors used the driving ability of Hett, Harper, and Taylor Heidebrecht to open up shots for other players. The Warriors made 6-of-13 3-point attempts in the game. Head coach Jeff McMillin said using drives to open up perimeter shots was a goal after the team settled for too many contested jumpers Friday against Remington.
The Warriors extended their lead in the third quarter to 66-28. Even up 38 points, the defense kept its intensity. Reserve Austin Pedersen blocked a shot with 1 second left in the quarter.
McMillin said he was happy everyone on the team was able to play Saturday, especially because the defensive effort remained high, or maybe even improved, with reserves like Pedersen, Wiley Lundy, and Ethan Hett in the game. He said the defense allowed Eureka to get the ball into the lane too much, but that the team made up for those mistakes with hustle and effort.
McMillin emptied his bench early in the fourth quarter, putting in the last unused reserves with 5:25 left in the game, up 35 points. The reserves didn’t push the offensive tempo the way the starters did, but they played with similar hustle on defense, allowing only 9 points in the quarter. Marion won, 69-37.
McMillin said he is pleased with the consistent effort his team has demonstrated in getting to a 4-0 start.
“They’re hungry, they really want to play hard,” McMillin said, acknowledging he might set a record for times a coach talks about “effort” in a season this year. Every season is a rollercoaster, he said, but the team’s hard work may do a lot to maximize the highs and minimize the lows.
Harper led the team in scoring with 24 points; he also had 7 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 block, and 2 steals. Jordan Hett had 23 points, 4 rebounds, 4 assists, and 2 blocks. Heidebrecht had 2 points, 3 assists, and 1 steal. All three were selected to the all-tournament team, and Jordan Hett was selected as the most inspirational player.
Zach Robson had 9 points, 5 rebounds, 2 assists, and 2 steals. James Jones, Ethan Hett, and Grif Case each had 3 points. Jones also had 4 rebounds and 1 assist; Ethan Hett had 1 rebound, 1 assist, and 1 steal; and Case had 1 rebound. Tim Knolla had 2 points and 1 assist.
Pedersen had 1 assist and 1 block; Bret Voth, 3 rebounds; Lundy, 2 rebounds; Jacob Baldwin, 4 rebounds and 1 block; and Morgan Wheeler, 2 rebounds.
The Warriors’ next game is Friday at Canton-Galva.
Marion had a slower start against the Remington Broncos on Friday, leading 11-6 after a first quarter in which they got several steals but had difficulty converting them into points.
Ethan Hett made a pair of 3-pointers in quick succession to extend the lead to 19-12 early in the second quarter. Marion went into halftime with a 23-12 lead.
Jordan Hett scored 7 points in a short time in the third quarter while Lundy got Remington’s post players in trouble, drawing fouls under the basket. Remington trimmed the Warriors’ lead to 7 at the end of the third quarter, 30-23.
Remington got within 4 point early in the fourth quarter, but Marion started pulling away again as Jordan Hett scored and made a laser-like assist to Heidebrecht on back-to-back possessions.
Remington again narrowed the lead to 5 with about 3:20 left to play, but the Broncos couldn’t keep up with the Warriors in the final minutes. Marion won, 47-35.
McMillin said he had expected Remington to be the toughest opponent for the Warriors to that point, and the Broncos were.
“It was a tough, hard-fought game,” he said.
Jordan Hett led Marion in scoring with 26 points; he also had 3 rebounds, 3 assists, and 4 steals.
Remington packed the lane with defenders, limiting Harper a bit, but Harper still scored 11 points and had 5 rebounds, 2 assists, and 2 steals. Ethan Hett contributed 6 points, 6 rebounds, 1 assist, and 1 steal. Heidebrecht had 4 points, 1 rebound, 6 assists, and 2 steals.
Pedersen had 2 assists and 3 steals; Robson, 2 rebounds, 1 assist, and 1 steal; Jones, 4 rebounds and 2 blocks; and Lundy, 3 rebounds.