Warren advances: Lady Warriors oust Marietta, 47-38, in sectional girls basketball action

MIKE MORRISON The Marietta Times Marietta’s Torrance Nonnenmacher, left, dribbles the ball as Warren’s Molly McCutcheon defends during a high school girls sectional basketball game Thursday in Logan. Warren won, 47-38.

LOGAN — Molly McCutcheon tossed in a game-high 19 points and Emily Jackson scored eight of her 11 points in a pivotal two minute stretch of the first half as the Warren Lady Warriors downed the Marietta Lady Tigers 47-38 in a sectional quarterfinal Thursday night at the Jim Myers Gymnasium in Logan.

McCutcheon scored 11 of her points in the opening half while Jackson knocked down a pair of triples and a field goal in the final two minutes of the first half to break open a tight game and provide her team with a little bit of breathing room.

“We finally started moving the ball really well and rotating and when we did that we started getting some open shots,” said Jackson, who knocked down three treys in the game. “We may have had some jitters early on but we got them out of the way and started to make some shots.”

The seventh-seeded Tigers jumped out to to an 11-10 lead after the first quarter, but quickly fell behind early in the second quarter on a McCutcheon field goal and a pair of free throws by Peyton Bowe.

Marietta got one of those points back on a free throw by Natalie Brooks but a Kaitlyn Liston free throw and a 3-pointer by McCutcheon gave Warren a 19-12 lead.

Amber Brooks pulled Marietta back within five on an inside score on an assist from Hannah Grosel with less than two minutes to play but Jackson scored the next eight Warren points as the Lady Warriors out-pointed Marietta 8-4 in the final minutes to take a 27-18 lead into the intermission.

“I thought we played really well for about eight minutes tonight and those eight minutes were able to carry us the rest of the way,” said Warren head coach Amy Colgrove of the second quarter spurt that saw her squad outscore the Tigers 17-7. “We had great intensity on the defensive end, rebounded great and moved the ball well, but after that we did just enough to win.”

Marietta had a tough time taking care of the basketball the entire game as the Lady Tigers turned the ball over 28 times in the game including eight times each in the second and third quarters.

“We have struggled all year long offensively, not only turning the ball over but not being able to knock down shots,” said Marietta head coach Mark Hannuksela. “It’s just hard to win very many high school games when you are not scoring in the 40s.”

Warren increased its lead to 12 (37-25) heading into the final quarter and watched the Tigers whittle that lead down to seven with a minute to play before taking care of their business at the charity stripe to punch its ticket to Saturday’s sectional championship game against Fairfield Union, which downed Vinton County 58-50 in the nightcap.

McCutcheon, who made good on eight of her 12 shot attempts in the game felt her team’s energy on defense played a big role in downing the Tigers for the second time in three attempts on the season.

“We were very aggressive on defense especially in the second quarter when we gained the momentum we needed,” said McCutcheon. “We still have a lot of things to work on defensively but compared to the last time we played them (Marietta) it was much better.”

Colgrove had high praise for her junior leader.

“It’s been a rough season for her (McCutcheon) because she has been hurt all season pretty much but she is finally starting to get healthy,” said Colgrove. “She’s showing now that she is one of the best players in the district.”

Ironically, each team connected on 15-of-37 field goal attempts in the game while Warren drained four 3-pointers compared to zero for the Tigers and also made five more free throws than did the black and orange.

Marietta was led in scoring by Natalie Brooks with 13 points, while Grosel pulled down a game-high 12 rebounds to go along with six markers.

While Warren (19-4) moves on to fight another day, Marietta’s season comes to an end with a 7-16 mark.

“We played well in the first quarter but that second quarter got ugly and they hit some and we didn’t and that’s where the game kind of blew up on us,” said Hannuksela. “Our kids fought hard for 32 minutes. We were good enough to beat Warren a couple of weeks ago but we weren’t tonight.”

The game marked the final one for Marietta seniors Grosel, Taylor McVicar, Amber Brooks and Jonysa Bradford, the first class that Hannuksela coached when he returned as Tiger head coach four years ago.

“We kind of started together and that makes this group special, it also makes it difficult to say goodbye to them,” said Hannuksela. “I am very proud of their effort tonight for sure.”