By Randy Bruns
MARIA STEIN -- The Marion Local Lady Flyers finally got back to basketball action Tuesday, a full 10 days after their season-opening win over Fort Loramie.
The long break had no apparent ill effects on Marion, though, as the Flyers pulled away from the Bath Wildkittens with a third-quarter explosion and went on to win, 64-41.
The Flyers improve to 2-0 while the loss was the first of the year for the Wildkittens, who now stand at 3-1.
"I was worried about how we would come back after being laid off for 10 days," said Marion coach Treva Fortkamp. "After a big win over Fort Loramie I didn't know how we would react but the girls did a great job. We beat a Bath team that is very well coached and very disciplined. They play in a tough league and you can never take them lightly."
Early indications were that this one would be tight throughout, as the lead seesawed back and forth before the Wildkittens grabbed a 10-6 advantage midway through the first. From there, though, the Flyers turned on the jets and went on a 15-0 run to grab a 21-10 lead. Bath responded late in the second quarter with a couple three-pointers and managed to whittle the Marion lead down to 27-20 at halftime.
The Flyers wasted no time rebuilding their lead in the third period, as buckets by Maria Moeller, Kelsey Schaefer, and Kelli Stucke started the quarter with a bang for the hosts.
The Wildkittens tried to counter with longballs, as they hit three in the stanza, but it wasn't enough to stem the tide.
The Flyer defense forced eight Wildkitten turnovers in the third quarter, and the result was Moeller getting the ball in the open floor. The junior standout dished as often as she scored, and her teammates were the recipients of some great passes in transition that ended up as easy buckets.
"We went into the half down seven after getting some good shots and I thought we'd be okay because we would hit those shots in the second half, but we never did," said Bath coach Greg Mauk. "I have to give the credit to their defense, because they were out on us really quick and we didn't get the time to get those good looks in the second half."
Marion hit at a sparkling 58-percent clip from the field in addition to drilling 83-percent of its free throws.
Moeller led the Flyer attack with 20 points, but her nine assists contributed to more scoring, including 17 markers tallied by fellow junior Jenna Barhorst.
Four more Flyers scored at least four points, which was enough to put a smile on Fortkamp's face.
"Everybody contributed offensively, and that's what I'm probably the most pleased with," said Fortkamp. "It's a team effort, and teams will key on Maria, but we have other people that can score, and that's a big plus for us."
The Flyers begin the Midwest Athletic Conference portion of their schedule on Thursday wh en their next door neighbors, the St. Henry Redskins, come calling at the Hangar.