After a close first quarter between Marion and Mississinewa last Tuesday night, the Giants, behind strong performances from Ra’Shaya Kyle, Ellie Vermilion, and Zariyah Hahn, together with another stout defensive showing, earned their 14th win of the season in a 63-29 triumph.
Both teams got off to a sluggish start, scoring a combined 13 points as the Giants led 8-5 after the first eight minutes.
But Marion’s defense, along with their size advantage in the post, began to turn the game in their favor.
“It was emotional. It was a rivalry game,” Marion Head Coach Lawrence Jordan said. “They had three girls around Ra’Shaya early, and my role players took shots – they just simply didn’t hit them. Sometimes when you go on the road, your offense may not be clicking, but your defense can always click if you put the effort in and have the energy.
“We had the energy and effort on defense and [in] second quarter, we took it to them.”
Marion outscored Mississinewa 18-5 in the frame, building a double-digit lead they would not relinquish.
“We just got outrebounded,” Mississinewa Head Coach Laura Friday said. “We knew that was one of our biggest keys for the night, and we just didn’t get that part done. That deflated us a little bit. We did a great job with the initial defense – it was ultimately the box-out. We just didn’t turn quick enough and box her out.”
Marion used a 19-5 third quarter to build a 45-15 advantage before cruising to the 34-point triumph.
“Our shots didn’t fall tonight,” Friday said. “In the first two quarters, we were shooting a little quick. In the third and fourth quarters, we slowed down and we got [the] shots…that we want. Ultimately, we were like eight-for-50-something.”
Kyle finished the game with 34 points, while Vermilion collected 17 points. Hahn played one of her best games in a Giants’ uniform, posting 10 points.
“Zariyah – she works her butt off,” Jordan said. “She knocked her 10-footer down and got to the free throw line four or five times and hit her free throws. She just played aggressive.”
Mississinewa’s stats from the contest were not readily made available.