Prep Sports

Marion takes the last, glorious step to a girls' basketball state title

Indians finish 26-0 season with 69-48 pasting of Grinnell

Marion players, including Kayba Laube (24, center facing), Sophie Willette (22) and Kenzie Redmond (2), celebrate their 69-48 win over Grinnell in the Class 4A championship game at the girls’ state  basketball tournament at Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines on Friday. (Liz Martin/The Gazette)
Marion players, including Kayba Laube (24, center facing), Sophie Willette (22) and Kenzie Redmond (2), celebrate their 69-48 win over Grinnell in the Class 4A championship game at the girls’ state basketball tournament at Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines on Friday. (Liz Martin/The Gazette)

DES MOINES — The progression is complete. The Marion Indians are champions.

Top-ranked Marion slashed and shot through Grinnell’s vaunted pressure and torched the No. 3 Tigers, 69-48, to capture the Class 4A girls’ state basketball title Friday night at Wells Fargo Arena.

“The girls really wanted this bad,” Indians Coach Corby Laube said. “The seniors, all the kids, they were really focused and they got it done.”

Ranked No. 1 all season, Marion finished 26-0. The Indians were semifinalists in 2016, runners-up last year, then took the final, glorious step in emphatic fashion.

“It’s the best feeling ever,” said sophomore Kayba Laube, the all-tournement captain. “We’ve been looking for this for so long.”

Grinnell (23-3) is an explosive score-and-press-and-score-some-more outfit. But the Indians never buckled against the pressure, committing just five turnovers all game.

Just five.

Instead of merely surviving against the full-court mayhem, the Indians attacked it. And the end result was another 3-point barrage, 13 in 29 attempts.

With 36 treys in three games, Marion zipped past the old tournament record of 30, set last year by 3A champion Pocahontas Area.

That’s the thing with Marion. Everybody can handle the ball. And everybody can shoot.

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“We trusted each other. We were never in panic mode,” Chloe Rice said. “We stayed calm and under control.”

Kayba Laube said, “Everybody can spot up and make shots. You just have to find them.”

Grinnell made the first push, jumping to a 13-6 lead. The rest of the game was all Indians.

Marion scored the final eight points of the first half — Randi Wright and Kayba Laube drained 3-pointers, then Rice hit from the top of the key — for a 29-22 advantage. Then, at 34-29, came another wave, eight in a row to extend the margin to 13, and it never wandered under double digits again.

Laube scored 16 points, as did freshman Riley Wright. Junior Randi Wright played one of the best games of her career, and added 10 points.

“It all kind of comes down to practice,” she said. “We have such good players to practice against, day after day. Then it comes easy for us in games.”

It looked easy Friday.

Rice joined Kayba Laube on the all-tournament team. So did Sienna Durr and Naomi Jackson of Grinnell, Allie Wooldridge of Center Point-Urbana and Madison Dreckman of LeMars.

Durr scored 23 points to lead the Tigers.

MARION 69, GRINNELL 48

Class 4A State Championship, at Des Moines

GRINNELL (48): Macy Harris 1-5 2-2 5, Naomi Jackson 4-7 1-2 11, Megan Doty 0-0 0-1 0, Kameron Moore 1-5 5-6 7, Sienna Durr 7-10 8-10 23, Micah Benning-Shorb 0-0 0-2 0, Sarah Gosselink 0-1 0-0 0, Kaitlyn Kriegel 0-0 0-0 0, Lauren Bolte 0-0 0-0 0, Addy Petig 1-1 0-0 2, McKenna McKnight 0-0 0-0 0, Salena Yoeun 0-0 0-0 0, Bailee Kriegel 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 14-30 16-23 48.

MARION (69): Chloe Rice 3-8 0-0 6, Caitlyn Smith 3-4 0-0 9, Randi Wright 4-7 0-0 10, Mia Laube 1-6 4-4 6, Kayba Laube 6-11 0-0 16, Leah Van Weelden 0-1 0-0 0, Kenzie Redmond 0-0 0-0 0, Maddie Knapp 0-1 0-0 0, Sydney Nielsen 0-1 0-0 0, Riley Wright 6-9 1-1 16, Sophie Willette 1-2 1-2 3, Elle Herold 0-0 0-0 0, Ella Van Weelden 1-2 0-0 3, Delaney Rice 0-0 0-0 0, Olicia Draves 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 25-53 6-7 69.

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Halftime: Marion 29, Grinnell 22. 3-point goals: Grinnell 4-8 (Harris 1-1, Jackson 2-3, Moore 0-1, Durr 1-1, Gosselink 0-1, Kriegel 0-1), Marion 13-29 (Smith 3-4, Ra.Wright 2-4, M.Laube 0-3, K.Laube 4-8, Nielsen 0-1, Ri.Wright 3-5, Willette 0-1, E.Van Weelden 1-2, Draves 0-1). Team fouls: Grinnell 11, Marion 16. Fouled out: none. Rebounds: Grinnell 23 (Durr 7), Marion 24 (Smith 4). Assists: Grinnell 4 (four with 1), Marion 14 (C.Rice 5). Steals: Grinnell 3 (three with 1), Marion 9 (C.Rice 4). Turnovers: Grinnell 14, Marion 5.

l Comments: (319) 368-8857; jeff.linder@thegazette.com

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