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Turner ignites Giants to big win over Guerin

By CHUCK LANDIS - clandis@chronicle-tribune.com

Jazmym Turner is the latest Marion girls’ basketball 1,000-point scorer, and the senior showed Tuesday evening how she accomplished the feat with a dazzling all-around performance.

Turner collected 22 points and 11 rebounds and the Giants cruised to a 70-29 victory over Guerin Catholic in the Bill Green Athletic Arena. The Giants held Guerin to one 3-point basket over the opening 7:58 of play in racing out to a 23-3 lead and were never challenged.

The loss didn’t completely take the sting away from Saturday’s 47-44 North Central Conference loss at McCutcheon on a last-second 3-point shot from near midcourt, but the Giants did improve to 7-3 with an impressive display of inside strength.

Although Turner came into the game with 1,006 points, she was briefly recognized after her first basket midway through the first quarter before the home crowd. The 6-foot-2 frontliner was just getting warmed up.

“It was something I had wanted for a while,” Thomas said of scoring 1,000 points, “but I allowed it to come to me and take it one game at a time. I wasn’t worrying about scoring but helping the team out.”

Turner and 6-6 junior RaShaya Kyle were feeding off each other in the post and Guerin (2-7) had no answers for either player. Kyle finished with 17 points on 8-of-12 field goal shooting and also had 11 rebounds, four blocks and three assists with a recruiter from the University of Kentucky on hand to watch the junior standout.

Marion shot 58.5 percent from the floor (31-of-53) helped by Turner connecting on 10-of-14 attempts, mainly around the basket on layups and putbacks. Turner and Kyle also were instrumental in the Giants building up a commanding 44-27 rebounding advantage.

A fourth-year starter, Turner has continually improved from her freshman season and is beginning to attract some Division I attention. Giants coach Lawrence Jordan said Wichita State (Kansas), where Giants all-time leading scorer Gina Johnson once played, has been showing the most interest, and several junior colleges want to help continue her development. 

“Jazzy’s been a good student, works hard and doesn’t give any attitude,” Jordan said. “She used to run over people, but now she’s under control and becoming a good Division I player right before our eyes.”

Jordan added Turner, who also blocked two shots and had two assists, will need to improve her ballhandling because she will be a guard-wing forward at the next level.

“I’m waiting on other offers, but I’m working on things that will get me ready for the college level,” Turner said. “I’m staying under control and playing as a team and putting ourselves in positions where we can win.”

Marion was in great position to win after its opening salvo, taking a 43-13 lead into halftime and extended the lead to 60-21 after three quarters. The Giants’ biggest lead was 49 points (70-21) early in the fourth quarter and Turner and Kyle departed for good with 5:27 to play.

The Giants had good contributions from Ellie Vermilion with 12 points, four steals and two assists; Ayana Harvey with six points, four assists and two steals, and Markeisha Jackson with six points and two assists. Olivia Aguilar and Kaliyah Jones came off the bench to add four and three points to round out the Giants’ scoring.

Jordan said he still was upset from the McCutcheon loss where the Giants were behind 14 points in the fourth quarter, rallied to tie the game and had possession with two seconds left before turning the ball over. McCutcheon then hit a 3-point shot from near the center court circle as time expired and dropped the Giants to 3-1 in NCC play.

“We had a great opportunity to set ourselves up for the conference championship,” Jordan said. “Now, we just got to fight back and take it one game at a time.

“I knew we would be alright (against Guerin Catholic) in the locker room before the game,” he added. “They knew I hadn’t been a happy camper the last two days. Markeisha and Ayana set the tone for us with their defensive play and everything else fell in place from there.”

Guerin Catholic won the JV game 44-32 with the Giants led by Zariyah Hahn’s 12 points and Ashanti Cardine’s eight points.

Marion plays at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at Huntington North.