Marion reaches uncharted territory

Girls' state basketball: Indians play for 4A title Saturday

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DES MOINES — The Marion Indians have undergone a postseason transformation.

It’s not easy on the eyes. But so what?

“We’ll take it,” Coach Corby Laube said after the top-ranked Indians ground down No. 4 Pella, 33-24, in a Class 4A semifinal at the girls’ state basketball tournament Friday afternoon at Wells Fargo Arena.

“It’s survive-and-advance, and that phrase applies. That’s what we’ve been doing lately.”

Marion (24-1) advanced to the state finals for the first time. The Indians face No. 8 North Scott (20-5) at 6 p.m. Saturday.

 

 

North Scott defeated No. 6 Cedar Rapids Xavier, 58-49, Friday.

“This has been our goal all along,” Mia Laube said. “Last year, we were disappointed (after a semifinal loss to Pella), because we thought we had a chance to go all the way.”

This year, it’s more of a determination. And that was reflected in the Indians’ defense, something that has risen to the forefront of their game since regionals.

Pella (20-5) was 7 of 39 (17.9 percent) from the field and committed 20 turnovers.

“Defense, defense, defense,” Marion’s Randi Wright said. “We locked them down.”

Still, the Dutch cut a 14-point deficit to 26-24 on Chloe Van Vliet’s putback with 3:55 to go.

They didn’t score again.

Chloe Rice scored on a feed from Mia Laube to make it 28-24, then the Indians hit enough free throws in the final minute to pull away.

“It wasn’t really pretty, but we’ll take it,” Rice said. “We tried to stay up in their jerseys. We wanted to make them uncomfortable.”

The Indians held Pella to two points in the second quarter and led, 20-10, at halftime. They took their largest lead at 24-10 midway through the third period before the Dutch made their only real push.

At 4.1 points per game, Wright is the Indians’ seventh-leading scorer. She led them Friday with nine.

“I did what I had to do for my team,” she said. “I left it all on the court for them.”

Rice and Mia Laube added seven apiece.

Van Vliet paced Pella with eight.

The Indians began their season in November with a number of themes.

One was a hard hat. Another was “118,” the number of days from the first day of practice until Championship Saturday.

And now, here they are.

“Some of the girls, we’ve been talking about this since they were in elementary school,” said Coach Laube, who earned his 199th career win. “It’s been the ultimate dream for a long, long time.”

 

MARION 33, PELLA 24

4A State Semifinal, at Des Moines

PELLA (24): Annika Pingel 0-2 0-0 0, Kiara Bradley 0-4 6-6 6, Ciara Buchheit 2-8 0-0 6, Katie Vander Molen 0-12 0-0 0, Chloe Van Vliet 3-7 0-2 8, Kloe Lambert 0-1 0-0 0, Kara Wichhart 0-1 0-0 0, Emily Holterhaus 2-4 0-0 4. Totals 7-39 6-8 24.

MARION (33): Chloe Rice 1-7 5-8 7, Caitlyn Smith 1-4 0-0 3, Randi Wright 4-7 0-0 9, Mia Laube 3-6 0-1 7, Kayba Laube 1-2 2-2 4, Maddie Knapp 0-4 0-0 0, Sophie Willette 0-2 3-3 3, Elle Herold 0-1 0-0 0, Isabella Sade 0-1 0-1 0. Totals 10-34 10-15 33.

Halftime: Marion 20, Pella 10. 3-point goals: Pella 4-22 (Bradley 0-2, Buchheit 2-5, Vander Molen 0-7, Van Vliet 2-6, Lambert 0-1, Wichhart 0-1), Marion 3-11 (Smith 1-4, Wright 1-1, M.Laube 1-3, K.Laube 0-1, Knapp 0-2). Team fouls: Pella 17, Marion 12. Fouled out: none. Rebounds: Pella 36 (Bradley 7), Marion 27 (Smith, Sade 4). Assists: Pella 6 (Buchheit, Vander Molen 2), Marion 3 (M.Laube 2). Steals: Pella 4 (Vander Molen 2), Marion 8 (K.Laube 3). Turnovers: Pella 20, Marion 12.

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

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