Prep Basketball

Marion tips CPU for 79th consecutive Wamac victory in battle of girls' basketball unbeatens

Sadie Struchen strikes for five 3-pointers, 18 points in Indians' 45-43 win

MARION — Regardless of outcome, a long winning streak was destined to end Saturday afternoon.

Thanks to Sadie Struchen, Marion’s run of Wamac Conference domination lives on.

Struchen connected on five 3-pointers and scored a game-high 18 points to lift Class 4A second-ranked Marion past No. 3 Center Point-Urbana, 45-43, in a Wamac cross-divisional girls’ basketball dandy at Marion High School.

“Games like this are so much fun to play,” said Struchen, a sophomore. “These are the games you really look forward to.”

Marion (16-0, 15-0 Wamac) survived a couple of good late looks by the Stormin’ Pointers (16-1, 14-1) and pushed its Wamac winning streak to 79 in a row, dating back to 2016.

“CPU’s a heck of a team, but I’ve got to give our kids a lot of credit for battling,” Marion Coach Josh Claypool said. “To grind this one out shows the toughness of this team.”

Marion matched its largest lead of the game at 42-36 on Struchen’s final 3-pointer with 5:09 to play. But the Stormin’ Pointers battled within 44-43 when Ryley Goebel scored with 1:05 remaining.

Struchen made 1 of 3 free throws in the final 22 seconds. Peyton Kriegel had a baseline 3-pointer go in and out, then Adrianna Katcher’s 8-footer hit the back of the rim as the horn sounded.

And with that, a 25-game winning streak ended for CPU, last year’s 3A state champion.

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“We had opportunities,” CPU Coach Philip Klett said. “We had them late. We had them early.

“I’m pleased. We weren’t too nervous. We had pretty good execution. One stop, one basket would have made a big difference.”

Marion has a trio of Division-I commits in senior Kayba Laube and juniors Ella Van Weelden and Riley Wright. A lot of summer shots has made Struchen another good option.

“I worked tremendously hard,” she said. “Hours and hours after practice. Today, I just took what came to me.”

Neither team shot particularly well — Marion was 13 of 44 (29.5 percent), CPU 17 of 49 (34.7 percent) — but the game didn’t lack drama.

CPU scored the first seven points of the second half for a 23-16 lead, then Marion answered with a 14-4 run and a 30-27 advantage.

Laube, who started the game 0-for-7 from the field, drained three quick 3-pointers early in the fourth quarter, then Struchen struck again for a 42-36 advantage.

Laube finished with 11 points, Van Weelden eight points and 11 rebounds.

Goebel paced CPU with 16 points. Katcher added 12 points and 10 rebounds, and Krigel scored 10.

MARION 45, CENTER POINT-URBANA 43

At Marion

CENTER POINT-URBANA (43): Adrianna Katcher 5-15 2-4 12, Bryn Hadsall 2-8 0-0 4, Peyton Kriegel 3-5 2-2 10, Ryley Goebel 7-16 1-3 16, Lauren Dufoe 0-1 0-0 0, Claire Neighbor 0-0 1-2 1, Emma DeSmet 0-0 0-0 0, Tayler Reaves 0-2 0-0 0, Laine Hadsall 0-2 0-0 0. Totals 17-49 6-11 43.

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MARION (45): Sadie Struchen 6-11 1-3 18, Riley Wright 0-5 6-6 6, Kayba Laube 3-11 2-2 11, Ella Van Weelden 3-9 0-0 8, Ella Bockenstedt 0-3 0-0 0, Regan Rice 0-1 0-0 0, Jo Hartke 1-4 0-0 2, Madison Prier 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 13-44 9-11 45.

Halftime: Marion 16, CPU 16. 3-point goals: CPU 3-12 (Katcher 0-1, B. Hadsall 0-1, Kriegel 2-4, Goebel 1-4, Reaves 0-2), Marion 10-28 (Struchen 5-10, Wright 0-2, Laube 3-7, Van Weelden 2-7, Bockenstedt 0-2). Team fouls: CPU 11, Marion 14. Fouled out: none. Rebounds: CPU 37 (Katcher 10), Marion 30 (Van Weelden 11). Assists: CPU 7 (Katcher 3), Marion 9 (Wright, Laube 3). Steals: CPU 4 (Katcher 2), Marion 4 (Struchen 2). Turnovers: CPU 9, Marion 9.

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

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