By Mark Ruschau
ANNA -- The Marion Local Flyers used a fast offensive start and a solid four quarter defensive effort to defeat the Anna Rockets 57-41 in non-league action Saturday afternoon in Shelby County.
The Flyers remain perfect on the season at 7-0 while Anna suffers its second straight loss and falls to 7-3.
Marion scored the first 10 points of the game and never trailed. After an Anna turnover to start the game, Kelsey Schaefer hit one of two free tosses. Maria Moeller then stole a pass and went the length of the floor to make the score 3-0.
After an exchange of empty trips, Jenna Barhorst scored inside to make the score 5-0. The Flyers blew the quarter open on three consecutive trips. Katelyn Mescher hit a free throw, Schaefer hit a short jumper from the baseline and Moeller hit a lay-in to double the score to 10-0, forcing a Rockets timeout.
After the timeout, Anna got on the scoreboard with two field goals but Marion answered with an 8-3 run to end the quarter with an 18-7 lead. Barhorst hit from the baseline and Moeller canned back-to-back treys. In the opening period, Marion converted 7-of-10 shots from the floor. On the defensive end, the Flyers held Anna to just 3-of-12 shooting and forced 10 turnovers.
"We came in here and did a good job of executing," said Marion Local coach Treva Fortkamp. "We got good shots in the first quarter. We moved the ball well and got a lot of different people good looks."
Anna crawled back into the game in the second quarter as it outscored the Flyers 15-8 to make the score 26-22 at the half. The key to the Anna rally can be seen in two numbers as they were able to hold Marion to just 3 of 12 shooting in the period and on the offensive end, although they made just two field goals they were able to hit 11-of-15 from the free-throw line.
"We talked about that at halftime that 11 of their 23 points came from the free-throw line," said Fortkamp. "I thought, though, the subs we had come in did a good job of maintaining the lead we had."
The Flyers came out in the second half and reasserted their dominance as they outscored the Rockets 31-19 in the second half to pull away.
Marion used the same formula in the second half that it used in the first quarter to pull away in the final 16 minutes -- great defense and good shooting. In the final 16 minutes, Anna hit on just 6-of-21 field goals and the Rockets received just seven free-throw attempts in the second half, compared to 17 in the first half.
"In the second half I thought we played much better defensively," said Fortkamp. "We moved our feet much better."
On the offensive end, Marion hit on 12-of-21 from the field in the second half.
Moeller led the Flyers with a game-high 23 while Barhorst added 14 points and a game-high eight rebounds.
Marion Local is back in action on the 27th playing host to Wapakoneta.