By Ben Murphy
Marion head coach Harold Dodde readily admitted that Tuesday night’s 42-35 victory over Harrison wasn’t pretty. Yet, he seemed glad to take it.
“It always feels good to get a win,” he said of the non-conference boys basketball game. “It wasn’t the prettiest win but the kids played hard. We only had six turnovers on the night which is excellent, but we missed layups and missed some big free-throws at the end that could have put it away earlier.”
Ethan Russell knocked down two early field goals to help give the Eagles a 9-5 lead after the first quarter, and Tyrell Hall knocked down a three-pointer in the second frame to help Marion lead 17-16 at the half. Harrison’s Cody Cooper scored four points in the frame and Casey Rundell knocked down a three to help cut the gap to one at the break.
Russell and Hall scored four points apiece in the third quarter to put the Eagles up 29-26 entering the fourth quarter, with Bret Coughlin leading the charge for Harrison with three points.
Hall knocked down a deep two-pointer to give Marion a 31-26 lead early in the fourth quarter, with Fenn Hatfield driving to the lane moments later to put the Eagles up 33-26 with 6:16 to play.
Harrison whittled into the Marion lead however, getting a Cooper three-pointer with 1:30 left to play to cut the Eagle margin to 36-35.
Marion closed the game on a 6-0 run, getting a free throw by Hall, a put-back basket by Nate Root, a fast-break hoop by Hall and a free throw by Jacob Hickey. Several of the Eagles’ points in the final minute came as a result of a Harrison turnover.
“We didn’t play smart and we didn’t take good shots,” Harrison head coach Joe Ashcroft said of the game’s final minute. “They out-hustled us a bit in the fourth quarter and got third and fourth chances. That’s what the game came down to.”
Dodde gave credit to his defense in closing out the win.
“We’re fairly quick and we can play good defense,” he said. “Sometimes we don’t pick up switches soon enough but when we need the ball they seem to get their hands on it.”
Marion was led by Hall with 16 points in the win, Russell put in nine, Root had seven, Tyler Johnson had six and Jordan Sian had two.
Marion (3-3 overall)
Harrison was led by Cooper with 11 points, Coughlin had nine, Rundell had five and Matt Haskell had four.
Harrison (0-6 overall) hosts Meridian tonight (Friday) and plays at Houghton Lake on Wednesday.