Prep Basketball

Marion brushes aside early deficit against DeWitt Central, wins 36th straight

Top-ranked Indians pull away for 66-42 win

Marion Indians
Marion Indians

MARION — Second-quarter deficits are a foreign concept to the Marion Indians.

When one came along Friday, they were neither surprised nor scared.

“We weren’t too worried about it,” Randi Wright said. “We knew they would come in here and be hyped up to play. We just kept doing our thing.”

And that thing has been effective for quite some time.

Down 19-18 midway through the second period, Class 4A top-ranked Marion responded with a 26-4 blitz and pulled away from No. 10 DeWitt Central, 66-42, in a Wamac Conference girls’ basketball game at Marion High School.

“We talked about situations, and I thought it would be all right if we were behind at some point,” Marion Coach Corby Laube said. “Nobody panicked. It was just an attitude of, ‘Let’s go.’”

The Indians (10-0 overall, 9-0 Wamac), defending 4A state champions, pushed their winning streak to 36 games and sent their regular-season win string to 40. They extended their East Division lead to 1 1/2 games over the up-and-coming Sabers (9-2, 8-2).

Marion’s identity is much different from last year’s championship squad. That team had dizzying depth. This team relies on six players, and all of them contributed Friday.

Sophomore Ella Van Weelden led the Indians with 18 points. Riley Wright, another soph, added 12 points, and Randi Wright — her senior sister — earned a double-double (11 points, 12 rebounds).

Sophie Willette tallied nine points, and Kayba Laube and Leah Van Weelden scored eight apiece.

“Everybody can do everything,” Randi Wright said.

Central absorbed an early blow (Marion got out to an early eight-point lead), then chipped away and took that 19-18 edge at the 3:44 mark of the second quarter. It lasted 13 seconds.

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Willette made the first of two free throws. Ella Van Weelden rebounded the second one and converted, and Marion was back in front to stay.

It was 30-21 by halftime, 44-23 late in the third quarter.

Lauren Wisco led the Sabers with 11 points.

MARION 66, DEWITT CENTRAL 42

At Marion

DEWITT CENTRAL (42): Allison Meadows 3-12 3-5 9, Emily Swanson 1-3 0-0 3, Lauren Wisco 5-9 0-0 11, Taylor Veach 1-8 3-4 5, Talbot Kinney 2-5 0-0 4, Madilynn McAvan 1-2 0-0 2, Lauren Cooper 2-4 2-2 6, Carleigh Jefford 0-0 0-0 0, Grace Pierce 1-2 0-0 2, Katie Fox 0-2 0-0 0, Sydney Walrod 0-0 0-0 0, Samantha Zeimet 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 16-47 8-11 42.

MARION (66): Leah Van Weelden 3-7 0-0 8, Riley Wright 5-9 2-3 12, Sophie Willette 4-11 1-3 9, Kayba Laube 3-10 0-0 8, Ella Van Weelden 6-12 4-5 18, Randi Wright 5-10 0-0 11, Sadie Stuchen 0-0 0-0 0, Jo Hartke 0-0 0-0 0, Peyton Steffen 0-1 0-0 0, Bri Fentress 0-0 0-0 0, Cloee Kraft 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 26-61 7-11 66.

Halftime: Marion 30, Central 21. 3-point goals: Central 2-12 (Meadows 0-3, Swanson 1-2, Wisco 1-4, Veach 0-2, Pierce 0-1), Marion 7-26 (L. Van Weelden 2-5, Riley Wright 0-3, Willette 0-2, Laube 2-5, E. Van Weelden 2-6, Randi Wright 1-4, Kraft 0-1). Team fouls: Central 11, Marion 9. Fouled out: none. Rebounds: Central 33 (Veach 5), Marion 38 (Randi Wright 12). Assists: Central 5 (Meadows 2), Marion 13 (Riley Wright 6). Steals: Central 2 (Swanson, Wisco), Marion 5 (E. Van Weelden 2). Turnovers: Central 15, Marion 6.

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

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