By Randy Bruns
TROY -- The Marion Local Flyers chalked up a hard-earned road win against a good non-conference opponent Wednesday night with a 54-39 victory over the Troy Trojans.
Marion improves to 5-2 on the year while Troy falls to 7-4.
It wasn't necessarily a thing of beauty, as each team committed over 20 turnovers, but it was a good test for the Flyers, who are on a hot streak after starting the season with a pair of losses.
The Marion Local defense caused fits for Troy early on, as nine Trojan turnovers helped allow the Flyers to take an 18-10 lead after one period of play. The Trojans then got a pair of three-pointers from Kelli Oda in the second frame to crawl back within seven at the half-time break.
It appeared that the hosts would make things interesting early in the third, as they started the half with a 7-2 run that cut the Flyer lead to two at 31-29. But as quickly as the Marion lead shrank, it widened back out again in a hurry.
Maria Moeller started things when she drove the lane for a bucket, and Katelyn Mescher followed with her second three-ball of the game to push the lead back out to seven. A Troy timeout couldn't stop the bleeding, as Megan Barhorst sandwiched a pair of bunnies around two free throws by Kim Droesch, and the Flyer defense clamped down to hold onto a 42-29 lead at the end of the third.
The Trojans would get no closer than 11 points the rest of the way, as the Flyers continued their lights-out shooting from the foul line (14-of-16 overall) to seal the win.
Aside from the win, the Flyers also got some practice against an unusual defense, as the Trojans threw a 1-2-2 full-court trap at them. Though it threw the Flyers for a loop at times, coach Treva Fortkamp was glad to see her team keep its composure.
"It was kind of odd and we tried a few different ways to attack it," said Fortkamp. "I don't think it caused us too much trouble, but it got us out of our transition game, which we had wanted to use more than we were able to. I thought we adjusted to it pretty well, and I'm glad we had the chance to look at it, because now we know what we need to do against it."
Moeller and Mescher shared team-high honors with 12 points each, and Megan Barhorst joined the pair in double digits with 10 markers. Oda led all scorers with 14.
Moeller's points came despite an off night from the field (33-percent), but Fortkamp liked how the rest of the team picked up the slack.
"Maria struggled shooting the ball, but that's why we're a team," said Fortkamp. "She's not going to be able to do it all every night, so the rest of them need to come to play. Troy's a good team, and their losses are to some quality schools. We can't hang our heads about coming in here and winning on the road. We looked a little sloppy at times, but it's the Christmas break and you expect to see that once in a while."
The Flyers return to the rigors of the Midwest Athletic Conference next Thursday when St. John's will pay a visit to the Hangar.