Top-rated Marion returns to state

Girls' basketball: Indians foil Keokuk's upset bid, 46-39

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MARION — The rankings foretold a mismatch.

The Marion Indians knew better.

“We knew it was going to be a grinder,” Marion Coach Corby Laube said after the top-rated Indians escaped a stern upset bid by Keokuk, 46-39, in a Class 4A girls’ basketball regional final Tuesday night at Marion High School.

“There’s something about that Keokuk team; they just have a lot of toughness and grit.”

And when it mattered most, so did the Indians.

The first 20 minutes were back and forth, punch and counterpunch, with neither team leading by more than five points.

But Marion (22-1) held the Chiefs scoreless in a six-minute stretch, turning a 31-30 deficit into a 38-31 lead.

“That’s what won it for us, right there,” Marion’s Chloe Rice said. “We knew how we were going to win, by locking them down.”

A state semifinalist last year, the Indians return to Wells Fargo Arena next week. They’ll face No. 14 Boone (19-5) in a 4A quarterfinal at 10 a.m. next Wednesday. The Toreadors will be making their first trip in five-on-five.

"It’s going to be more special this year,” Mia Laube said. “It’s going to be amazing having my little sister (Kayba) going with me ... and all my other sisters.”

A regional-final environment is a special deal anyway, but it was downright deafening at times Tuesday, particularly during the Indians’ fateful run.

“At times it was hard to hear what play was being called,” Caitlyn Smith said. “It was really fun.”

Smith’s 3-pointer gave Marion the lead for good, 33-31, with 2:30 left in the third period. Sophie Willette followed with a pair of free throws, and Marion took a 35-31 advantage into the final quarter break.

Mia Laube’s drive made it 38-31 with 5:10 to go, but Keokuk (16-7) cut it to 38-36 on Kaci Ames’ three-point play a the 4:17 mark.

It was 40-37 before Kayba Laube drilled a 3-pointer — she was 1-for-10 from long range before the shot — with 2:23 left, then Isabella Sade punctuated the win with two late blocks.

The younger Laube led the Indians with 11 points. Rice scored 10, Smith nine, Mia Laube and Willette seven apiece.

Makenzie Pezley scored 14, all but one in the first half, to pace the Chiefs.

An 8-0 run gave Keokuk its largest lead at 19-16 late in the first half, then Willette, Kayba Laube and Smith drilled treys to put Marion up 27-26 at the half.

Somewhat an underdog last year, the Indians take a different role to Des Moines next week.

“We know what we’re capable of accomplishing,” Mia Laube said. “We’ll go there humble and hungry.”

MARION 46, KEOKUK 39

Class 4A Regional Final, at Marion

KEOKUK (39): Michaela Davis 1-5 4-6 6, Makenzie Pezley 5-10 1-3 14, Skyler Johnston 2-6 0-0 5, Kaci Ames 3-5 2-3 8, Alyssa Wessel 1-3 0-2 2, Lauren Hasselbusch 0-1 0-0 0, Jakala Hall 0-4 0-0 0, Aryn Kindig 2-3 0-0 4. Totals 14-37 7-14 39.

MARION (46): Chloe Rice 2-6 5-8 10, Caitlyn Smith 3-6 0-0 9, Randi Wright 0-0 0-0 0, Mia Laube 3-3 0-0 7, Kayba Laube 2-11 5-6 11, Sophie Willette 1-5 4-4 7, Isabella Sade 0-0 2-2 2, Maddie Knapp 0-0 0-0 0, Elle Herold 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 11-32 16-19 46.

Halftime: Marion 27, Keokuk 26. 3-point goals: Keokuk 4-13 (Davis 0-1, Pezley 3-7, Johnston 1-2, Hall 0-3), Marion 8-20 (Rice 1-1, Smith 3-4, M.Laube 1-1, K.Laube 2-10, Willette 1-3, Herold 0-1). Team fouls: Keokuk 18, Marion 18. Fouled out: Wright. Rebounds: Keokuk 24 (Davis 7), Marion 22 (Rice, Sade 5). Assists: Keokuk 5 (Johnston 2), Marion 5 (Rice, M.Laube 2). Steals: Keokuk 2 (Johnston 2), Marion 5 (Rice 3). Turnovers: Keokuk 14, Marion 9.

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

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