116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
MARION — What a difference exactly one week makes.
Marion’s boys’ basketball team was drubbed in its opener against Cedar Rapids Kennedy. There’s no other way to put it.
Though a loss to a school in a bigger class is nothing to be ashamed of, losing by 34 isn’t the best way to begin a season. Neither is giving up 93 points.
But the Wolves have regrouped, recharged and rejuvenated themselves in a matter of days. A 67-51 win Tuesday night over Center Point-Urbana was their third straight.
“The first game we got thrown into the fire against a tremendous Kennedy team,” said Marion Coach Pete Messerli. “I think the season will tell that story (about the Cougars) as it goes on. But the guys came in with positive attitudes the very next day.”
Marion was tied at halftime against Independence in its second game but played an awesome second half to win going away. It beat the second Class 4A school on its early schedule, rallying in the fourth quarter to beat Cedar Rapids Washington.
And now this. Marion rode to a 38-20 halftime lead in a game never really in much doubt.
“Kennedy is a really good team,” said Marion’s Brayson Laube. “But after that loss, we took it personal, and we all came together as a team. We’ve gotten better chemistry. Our thing has been like getting 1 percent better every day. Keep pushing ourselves.”
Laube had 20 points and Alex Mota 17 to lead the Wolves. Laube, a junior guard, has improved his game considerably from a season ago, incorporating more of a driving and short jumper aspect to it.
He said lifting weights in his family’s garage daily during the pandemic and over the summer has made a difference.
“Offseason I really worked on my body,” Laube said. “I can shoot the 3-pointer, but I know teams are going to be running me off the lines. So the offseason I really went to work on pull-up Js, getting all the way to the rim. All those different things, floaters. Because I know teams are always going to be taking away that 3-pointer.”
Marion did a pretty good job defensively, though it did let Easton Tupa get away from it. The junior guard hit a half-dozen 3-pointers in an impressive 24-point night for CPU (0-3).
A feel-good moment came in the final 25 seconds of the game, when Center Point-Urbana substituted in junior guard Parker Libolt. The son of CPU Principal Rob Libolt, Parker has down-syndrome but loves sports and weekly gets on social media to give everyone his weekly NFL picks.
His Stormin’ Pointer teammates and Marion players set him up to take three shots underneath the hoop in the final 10 seconds, the last of which went in much to everyone’s, especially Parker’s jubilation.
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