Friday, February 16th, 2018
Flyers get past Rangers
By Dave Stilwell
Marion Local's Heidi Rethman, background, battles for the ball with New Knoxvill. . .
MARIA STEIN - In a game of momentum shifts, Marion Local hit a couple big fourth-quarter three-pointers and held off New Knoxville in the closing seconds for a 42-38 victory in the regular season finale Thursday night at the Hangar.
The Flyers took control of the game early, thanks in part to an active zone defense that forced nine New Knoxville turnovers in the first quarter.
The Rangers were held scoreless for the first six minutes of the game before Tasia Lauth's three-pointer broke the ice and halted an 8-0 Marion run.
The Flyers held on to a 15-7 lead at the end of the first quarter, but the momentum quickly shifted to the Rangers' side of the court.
Erin Scott nailed a three-pointer on the first possession of the second quarter and New Knoxville added two free throws from Morgan Leffel and a bucket by Megan Jurosic to pull to within 15-14 with 6:20 left in the half.
Marion Local hung on to the lead until Jacklyn Leffel hit a pair of free throws to tie the game, followed by a three-pointer for a 22-19 New Knoxville halftime lead.
The Flyers went the entire second quarter without a field goal and were 5 of 9 at the free throw line.
And when the Rangers opened the second half with an 8-2 run to build a 30-21 lead, it looked like the momentum would be difficult to get back.
But sophomore Kelsey Koenig hit a pair of three-pointers, sandwiched around a free throw by Emily Nietfeld, to pull the Flyers to within two, 30-38, heading into the fourth quarter.
Nietfeld re-gained the lead for Marion with a pair of free throws early in the fourth.
After the Rangers tied the game, Koenig hit another trey to put the Flyers up 36-33.
New Knoxville kept pace and snatched back the lead, 38-37, on a free throw by Morgan Leffel. Marion Local answered with a big three-pointer by Heidi Rethman followed by a stick-back bucket from Kara Evers for the game's first two-possession lead, 42-38, since midway through the third quarter.
The Rangers had some decent scoring chances late in the closing seconds, but were unable to come up with the big basket.
With 22 seconds left, Rethman iced the game with a pair of free throws.
Marion Local coach Beth Streib was pleased not only with the way her team hadrallied from the third quarter deficit but also how they hung tough at the end.
"It's the end of the year and the kids are learning," she said. "We've had three sophomores and two freshmen on the court a lot, and hopefully they've grown up. Not that they haven't played hard all year, but tonight they played hard and stayed confident. That was nice to see."
Led by Jurosic with 13 points, the Rangers finished the Midwest Athletic Conference at 0-9 and 6-16 overall.
"We came back, but it seems like we just can't find a way to win. It's hard to get over that hump," New Knoxville coach Tim Hegemier said. "We have to have a little more basketball sense in critical situations - knowing where to go and what to do."
The Rangers open tournament play Wednesday against Upper Scioto Valley at 8 p.m. in the Division IV district opener at Coldwater.
Rethman and Koenig paced the Flyers with 14 and 11 points respectively. Marion Local ended a seven-game losing streak, finishing the regular season at 3-6 in the MAC and 5-17 overall.
"Hopefully this will give us a little confidence," Streib said. "You never know what's going to happen in the tournament. It's a new season."
The Flyers received a first-round bye and play the winner of the New Bremen-Waynesfield game on Feb. 24 at 6 p.m. in Coldwater.