MARION – The clock showed a minute left. The scoreboard signaled a tie. The atmosphere consisted of everything needed for a thriller, yet the contest meant nothing. Marion head coach Corby Laube scripted the situation Thursday in practice.
Friday, the Indians hosted West Delaware and the clock glared 1:10. The scoreboard display a tie, 43-43.
“It was a lot like (practice). We had the same situation,” said Marion’s Amanda Sahm, who finished with 13 to lead her team. “It helped a lot.”
Thursday, the Indians ran a drop off pass to Michalyn Mohr, who put in the go-ahead bucket, that led to a four-point win over the JV squad. Friday, Paige Perkins took a pass from the baseline and converted a 3-point play, which sparked Marion to a four-point 48-44 win at home.
“This game, if you can learn situationals in a win, that’s important,” Laube said. “You never want to lose but if you can learn those things in close games and win, at the end of the game there’s a lot of teaching points.”
The Indians learned quite a bit out themselves Friday, and their ability to come from behind. Marion trailed 7-0 in the first three minute minutes of the game. The Indians then closed out the final 12:45 of the half with a 22-6 run.
Beth Knapp buried two free throws to jumpstart the Indians. The made baskets forced West Delaware to inbound the ball and allowed Marion to set up its press. With the press in place, the Indians suffocated the Hawks surrendering three field goals the final 14:51 of the first half.
“I feel like we always come out slow,” Knapp said. “Just make it interesting. It takes it a while for us to get into it.”
It wouldn’t be the last comeback. West Delaware, which made 15 3-points coming into the game, nailed four in a five-minute span, scoring a total of 23 points in the third quarter. Amanda Solomon scored seven of her 13 points during the stretch.
Five of the seven West Delaware made buckets in the third consisted of some variety of a 3-point play. The Hawks finished the game 4 of 8 from deep, nearly doubling their season average of 26.8.
“I had confidence. Basketball is a game of runs. I thought West Delaware came out and they hit some shots,” Laube said. “They came out and hit some 3s, but I thought we were getting where we needed to be.”
The momentum continued into the fourth for the Hawks, who built a four-point lead with 2:45 remaining. Twenty seconds later, the game was tied – 43-43 – just in time for practice.
With Mohr’s quiet offensive night (she did pull don a game high eight board) Perkins took center stage. She began on the left baseline and drove toward the hoop. After drawing contact the 5-foot-9 senior cashed in off the glass and made the free throw. It grew the Marion lead to 46-43 with 56.9 to play.
“It was really big. She has a lot of those,” Knapp said. “She’s a brute when she goes to the basket.”
Thursday, after Mohr’s made basket, the Indians sealed the win against the JV, with defense. Practice makes perfect. Against West Delaware, Marion didn’t allow a field goal the final 3:06.
But for Laube and Company, they had been there, seen that.
“You know, I think we ended up winning (in practice),” Laube said. “But I think we executed a little better here than in practice.”
MARION 48, WEST DELAWARE 44
West Delaware 14 13-19 44: Amanda Solomon 3 7-12 13; Reeann McCarty 4 2-2 12; Bethany Hahn 3 1-2 9; Emily Thole 2 0-0 4; Kasey Palmer 0 0-0 0; Haley Morrison 1 3-3 5; Maddie Coates 1 0-0 2.
Marion 17 14-24 48: Michalyn Mohr 2 3-6 7; Beth Knapp 3 3-5 10; Amanda Sahm 4 5-6 13; Paige Perkins 3 2-5 8; Emi Barnes 3 0-0 7; Micaela Combs 1 1-2 3; Tessa Jordan 0 0-0 0.
Halftime: Marion 22-13. 3-point Field Goals: West Delaware 4-8(Hahn 2) Marion3-10 (Banes, Knapp, Combs); Rebounds: West Delaware 30 (Palmer 7); Marion 19 (Mohr 8); Assists: West Delaware 1 (Palmer); Marion 2 (Jordan 2).