ST. MARYS — Marion Local’s girls basketball team won its first three tournament games shooting a mere 35 percent from the field.
Because of that, it shouldn’t be a big surprise that the Flyers were victorious in a Division IV district final game in which it shot 50 percent.
Marion Local defeated Minster 53-41 to advance to the regional semifinals for the first time since 2006. Marion Local will face Fort Loramie at 7 p.m. Thursday at Tippecanoe.
“It’s a credit to our defense that we’ve been winning these games where we’re shooting 35 percent,” Marion Local coach Treva Fortkamp said. “We were finally able to get a good shooting performance from our girls as well as having a few good defensive stands. We really stressed that we needed to crash the boards, and we did a good job of that tonight.”
Marion Local put the pressure on early, beginning the game on a 9-3 run. Minster’s Kayla Richard scored a pair of quick baskets to bring the Wildcats back to 9-9 score, and the two teams went back and forth from that point on. Marion Local’s ability to get the ball inside and score became more and more important as Minster’s defense caused frequent turnovers. The Flyers maintained a narrow lead the rest of the half despite turning the ball over 12 times.
In the second half, Marion Local got another quick start, this one Minster wouldn’t recover from. Entering the third quarter with a 22-19 lead, Cadence Jacobs and Megan Kuether hit back-to-back 3-pointers to blow the lead up to nine points. Marion Local’s defense kept the lead where it was the rest of the game.
Marion Local’s offense again was able to be productive in the second half despite frequent turnovers and pressure from Minster’s defense. Minster’s defense caused 23 turnovers, while Marion Local’s defense held Minster to just a 36 percent shooting night. Minster also went just 7-16 from the free throw line.
“We’ve got to be able to take care of the ball better,” Fortkamp said. “Minster is a great team. They’re very well-coached, and they hang around. I kept telling our girls that they couldn’t let them back in the game. We held off their runs tonight, and I thought that was huge.”
Brooke Winner led Marion Local with 17 points and 11 rebounds despite missing significant time in the second half because of foul trouble. Jacobs finished with 13 points, and Allie Thobe finished with 12 points. Chelsea Winner scored eight points and grabbed eight rebounds.
Kayla Richard scored 14 points to lead Minster, while Claire Fischer and Sara Dahlinghaus each finished with 10 points.
“Their put-backs really hurt us,” Minster coach Nann Stechschulte said. “Brooke Winner really hurt us on the boards in the first half, and got most of her points off put-backs, so that was the first thing we addressed as a team at halftime. Once they got in some foul trouble, I wanted to try to go inside more and that ended up backfiring on us.”