The Ell-Saline Cardinals seemed destined for heartbreak Friday night in Brookville. Clinging to a one-point lead in final seconds of the boys’ battle with Marion, junior guard Sam Zinn drove the baseline, dishing out an assist to fellow Warrior junior Noah Dalrymple in the low block. Dalrymple got the bucket and drew a foul, giving Marion a 42-41 lead with just 4.9 seconds to play.
Even with a Marion miss at the free throw line and a Cardinal rebound, the odds of getting the ball up the court in time for a decent look at the bucket were slim. Fortunately for the Cardinals, Ell-Saline senior guard Tel Phelps was up for the challenge.
Following the Dalrymple miss at the line, Phelps took the outlet pass near the baseline then dribbled quickly through a throng of Marion defenders up the near sideline into the Cardinal frontcourt, then delivered a cross-court strike to senior Nathan Parks, who laid in a contested game-winning bucket at the rim as time expired. The officials quickly deemed the basket good, leading to a massive mid-court celebration as a frenzied Ell-Saline student section rushed onto the hardwood to join the team in celebrating the 43-42 victory – Ell-Saline’s first Heart of America League win of the 2017-2018 season.
The game was a rugged, hard-fought affair that included three technical fouls – two on Marion, one on Ell-Saline – along with one player from each squad being ejected during a dust-up late in the second quarter. Ell-Saline (3-5, 1-1) trailed 11-8 after the first quarter, but held the Warriors to just four points in the second period to take a 21-15 lead into halftime.
Marion came out the locker room re-energized, outscoring the Cardinals 16-7 in the third quarter to regain a three-point advantage, 31-28, before being outscored by Ell-Saline 15-11 over the game’s final eight minutes.
Ell-Saline was led by an 11-point effort from senior post Mason Farrell, while senior guard Hunter Kindlesparger added ten. Parks chipped in with seven points, six of those coming in the all-important, nip-and-tuck fourth quarter.
Junior Chase Stringer led all scorers on the night with 14 points for the Warriors, while Dalrymple finished with nine.
Experience, Depth Propel Lady Warriors to Runaway Victory
In the girls’ battle Friday night, Marion used its experience and depth to overwhelm Ell-Saline’s underclassmen-laden varsity squad on its way to a 49-24 win. Featuring five seniors in the starting lineup, the Warriors jumped out to a 12-4 lead after the first quarter, then continued to pour it on in the second period, outscoring the Cardinals 16-4 to head into halftime with a 28-8 advantage.
Senior standout Kourtney Hansen led a balanced Warrior offensive attack, finishing the night with 14 points. Junior Corinna Crab added eight points of the bench, while starting senior post Jessi Lewman chipped in seven points on a night that saw ten Warriors finish the night in the scoring column.
Conversely, Ell-Saline (1-7, 0-2) got little offensive output outside of sophomore Ashton Travis, who finished with 14 of the 24 Cardinal points on the game. Senior Lexi Kochanowski added four points, while sophomore Paige Vogt and freshmen Reece Ditto and Lakin Short each had two points on the night.