Prep Basketball

Girls' basketball notes: Marion isn't as deep, but just as dominant

With a main rotation of 6, the Indians have pushed win streak to 34

Marion’s Kayba Laube (24) drives to the basket around Center Point-Urbana’s Callyn Fox (44) during the first half of a girls’ basketball game last season. Now a junior, Laube leads the Indians (8-0) at 19.6 points per game. (Cliff Jette/The Gazette)
Marion’s Kayba Laube (24) drives to the basket around Center Point-Urbana’s Callyn Fox (44) during the first half of a girls’ basketball game last season. Now a junior, Laube leads the Indians (8-0) at 19.6 points per game. (Cliff Jette/The Gazette)

Graduation has chipped away at their depth.

But the Marion Indians’ top-end talent hasn’t wavered, and their winning streak continues to grow.

A close call against Cedar Rapids Prairie, nearly four weeks ago, has been followed by six consecutive one-sided victories. That has pushed Marion’s girls' basketball chain of victories to 34.

“Our rotation obviously isn’t as deep as last year,” Indians Coach Corby Laube said. “Depth was definitely an advantage last year.

“But there are advantages this year, too. Using the same girls most of the time, we’re able to develop more offensive chemistry.”

Last year, the Indians could go 10 deep without skipping a beat. Foul trouble or injury wouldn’t have derailed them. They went 26-0 and captured the Class 4A state championship.

Now, the margin for error is thinner. Six players are getting the majority of the minutes. And yet, the Indians (8-0 overall, 7-0 Wamac Conference) are averaging 67.0 points per game and allowing 29.4.

The Indians prevailed in a thriller against Prairie, 56-54, at Rivalry Saturday, Nov. 24. Nobody else has hung within 30.

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“Our bench is a work in progress,” Laube said. “It depends on the game. A couple of more kids can give us extra offense, a couple of others can give us more defense.”

A junior and a Northern Iowa commit, Kayba Laube leads the Indians at 19.6 points per game. She is shooting 56 percent from the field, including 49 percent from long distance.

Sophomores Riley Wright and Ella Van Weelden provide 12.5 and 9.6 points per game, with Wright adding 4.6 assists per contest.

The other major contributors are seniors — Leah Van Weelden (9.5 ppg), Sophie Willette (7.4 ppg) and Randi Wright (4.7 ppg, a team-high 6.7 rebounds per game).

“The seniors and Kayba have stepped up and become vocal leaders,” Coach Laube said. “Ella and Riley have really gotten stronger physically with another year.”

The Indians close out the pre-Christmas portion of their season Friday at home against West Delaware, then restart with a divisional showdown at home against DeWitt Central (8-0, 8-0) on Jan. 4.

Oh, Suzanna!

Suzanna Yoder’s scoring output comtinues to climb. Now, finally, her team’s win total is rising with it.

A senior at Iowa Mennonite, Yoder is scoring at a 28.4-point clip. That ranks second in the state, behind only Caitlin Clark of West Des Moines Dowling (29.1 ppg), widely considered Iowa’s best junior prospect.

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In her first three varsity seasons, Yoder averaged 8.3, 18.0 and 22.2 points per game. But IMS floundered with records of 1-19, 0-19 and 5-17, so her scoring exploits went largely unnoticed.

This year, IMS is 5-5 heading into Friday’s game at Highland.

Yoder’s shooting accuracy is improved across the board from last year: 36.2 percent from the field, 34.5 from 3-point range and 76.4 from the free-throw line.

She has 1,244 points in her career.

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

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