Prep Basketball

Marion girls' basketball wins fifth Wamac division title in a row

Ella Van Weelden's 19 points help 4A No. 2 Indians defeat No. 10 DeWitt Central, 57-46

Marion's Ella Van Weelden (25) makes a 3-point basket during the state tournament last season. (The Gazette)
Marion’s Ella Van Weelden (25) makes a 3-point basket during the state tournament last season. (The Gazette)

MARION — With four players averaging double figures in scoring, Marion has a variety of options to take over a game.

Friday night, it was junior Ella Van Weelden.

“It makes the game so much easier,” Van Weelden said after she scored a game-high 19 points as the Class 2A second-ranked Indians held off No. 10 DeWitt Central, 57-46, in a Wamac Conference girls’ basketball game last night at Marion High School. “We are so deep and we know that other people can score if we need to and that is what makes it so good for us. People will make shots when they need to and that really helps.”

For Marion, the victory kept its unbeaten record intact (18-0, 17-0 Wamac) and earned the Indians their fifth Wamac division title in a row. For a program with four trips to the state semifinals in a row, including two second-place finishes and a title two years ago, the overall goals may be much loftier than aN East Division crown.

But championships are still championships.

“It is pretty special,” first-year Marion Coach Josh Claypool said. “We talked to the girls about it is really easy to overlook those kind of things when you have won a few, but it is pretty hard to do. All our games but two are Wamac games. It is really easy to have off nights here and there, but our girls have amazing focus and drive and they really mentally don’t take nights off. They really lock in every night.”

DeWitt Central (16-2, 15-2) jumped on Marion with 12 of the first 15 points of the game, but the Indians started getting the ball inside to the 6-foot-1 Van Weelden, who scored 11 points during a 23-8 burst that gave the Indians the lead for good.

“We stayed calm pretty much the whole time,” said Van Weelden, a second team all-state selection last season and Valparaiso commit. “We just kept trying to get different looks.”

Van Weelden also pulled down a game-high 13 rebounds, while future Northern Iowa teammates Kayba Laube and Riley Wright added 16 and 14 points, respectively, for Marion.

Taylor Veach — who entered the game tied with Laube for seventh in all of 4A with 20.4 points per game — led the Sabers with 17 points.

The two teams play again Feb. 13 at DeWitt.

Girls’ basketball

AT MARION

Class 4A No. 2 Marion 57, No. 10 DeWitt Central 46

DEWITT CENTRAL (46): Allison Meadows 3 7-8 15, Carleigh Jefford 0 0-0 0, Lauren Cooper 0 0-0 0, Grace Pierce 1 0-0 2, Natalie Butler 1 0-0 3, Madilynn McAvan 0 0-0 0, Talbot Kinney 3 2-2 9, Taylor Veach 7 0-0 17, Kathryn Grau 0 0-0 0, Totals 15 9-10 46.

MARION (57): Regan Rice 1 2-2 5, Sadie Struchen 1 0-0 3, Riley Wright 5 2-4 14, Johanna Hartke 0 0-0 0, Kayba Laube 4 6-8 16, Ella Van Weelden 7 4-6 19, Ella Bockenstedt 0 0-0 0, Totals 18 14-20 57.

DeWitt Central 12 8 14 12—46

Marion 10 16 16 15—57

Three-point goals — DeWitt Central 7 (Veach 3, Meadows 2, Butler 1, Kinney 1); Marion 7 (Laube 2, Wright 2, Rice 1, Struchen 1, Van Weelden 1). Rebounds — DeWitt Central 23 (Pierce 9); Marion 26 (Van Weelden 13). Total fouls — DeWitt Central 14; Marion 12. Fouled out — Veach.

Comments: douglas.miles@thegazette.com

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