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Giants stun Angola in overtime, 55-52

FINISHER: Marion’s Ayana Harvey eyes two of her career-high 20 points in the Giants’ 52-46 regional semifinal win over West Noble in the Class 3A Columbia City Regional on Saturday.

BY SCOTT HUNT

shunt@chronicle-tribune.com

COLUMBIA CITY — To say things looked bleak for the Marion girls basketball team Saturday night in their regional championship battle with Angola, well that would be an understatement, a very large one at that.

After leading for the better part of three quarters, the Giants were suddenly staring at a 46-40 deficit to an Angola program hungry for its first regional title ever.

But there was not quit in the Giants and magic started to happen.

Jazmyn Turner knocked down a corner three to cut the deficit in half.  Angola made 1-of-2 from the line before Turner scored again to cut Marion’s deficit to 47-45 with 17.5 seconds to play.

Angola again made 1-of-2 from the line with 16 seconds before Ellie Vermilion was fouled on a three with 7.3 seconds left.

Vermilion made all three attempts to tie the game at 48 and Angola couldn’t get a shot off sending it to overtime.

“I was like we worked all year and I’m not going to let my seniors down, this is for my seniors,” said Vermilion while standing amidst the chaos in the court. “We had to not turnover the ball and just make shots.”

There the Giants scored the first three points and never trailed again and earn Marion’s first regional title since 1986 with a stunning come-from-behind 55-52 win over the Hornets.

The Giants defense was stout, and needed to be because of their 21 turnovers, but holding a slim 32-29 lead going into the final eight minutes, it took as much toughness as Marion could muster to earn the win.

Hanna Knoll knocked down all three of her three-point attempts for the Hornets, the second and third ones gave Angola its first and second leads at 35-34, then 38-36.

Turner hit one free throw and then a 3, she led Marion with 25 points, to put the Giants up 40-38 with 3:10 to play.

But three of Marion’s turnovers helped Angola go on an 8-0 run and seemingly have control with the 46-40 lead and just 47 seconds left to play.

“Just to relax and keep playing,” said Turner of coach Lawrence Jordan’s message during a timeout. “Don’t stop until the clock said double zero.”

Kyle finished with 14 points and 11 rebounds. Vermilion only three points of regulation came on the tying free throws, but it was her steal and only field goal of the game that put the Giants on top 51-48 early in the overtime.

Markeisha Jackson scored just two points, but it was with just 40 seconds to play in overtime to put Marion in front 53-50.

Ayana Harvey and Olivia Aguilar scored three points apiece.

“The game is not 28, its not 29, you’ve got to play until the clock shows zeroes,” Jordan said. “We didn’t panic, we kept fighting and we pulled it out.

“It was a credit to me, a credit to (assistant coach Julius) Mays and a credit to the girls,” he added, “Its been a great  process all year, it’s been fantastic. It’s been a great ride coaching these girls.”

Marion’s 14th straight win came with a date with 3A No. 1 Northwestern in the Northern Semistate in either Logansport or LaPorte. Location and times will be announced today by the IHSAA.

Semifinal

Marion 52, West Noble 46

Ayana Harvey poured in a career-high 20 points while Jazmyn Turner added 13 and the Giants withstood a furious second half rally from the Chargers to advance to the regional championship.

The Giants jumped out to an 8-0 lead in the first 3:30 of the game and held a 16-8 lead at the end of the first quarter.

West Noble pulled as close as 26-21 with just over a minute to play in the first half, but a Harvey field goal and two free throws from Ellie Vermilion sent Marion to intermission with a 30-21 advantage.

The Chargers turned up the defensive intensity in the third quarter and forced four Giants’ turnovers which helped West Noble trim the Marion lead to 39-35 entering the final eight minutes.

Madison Schermerhorn scored the first two of the fourth quarter and suddenly West Noble was within 39-37 with 6:36 to play.

But Turner knocked down her only three-point attempt of the game on the Giants next possession the added an offensive rebound and basket before Harvey scored in close to extend the Marion lead back to 46-37 with 4:23 remaining.

West Noble didn’t go away though. After a free throw by Schermerhorn, Lauren Burns got a steal and basket and was followed by a three-pointer from Lilly Mast. During the stretch West Noble forced five-straight turnovers and pulled within 46-43.

“We expended way too much energy. ... I felt like we were about to break them, but a couple of mistakes here and there and we didn’t get out on their shooters” said Marion coach Lawrence Jordan. “We have to be better tonight to bring home the championship.”

Harvey’s final points were the biggest of the game, as she converted a three point play with 1:27 to play to put the Giants in front, 49-43.

Angela Gross hit a three for West Noble with 58 seconds left to make the difference three points again, but Marion kept the Chargers off the board the rest of the way while converting 3-of-6 from the foul line.

Harvey was 8-of-13 from the field in her career-best performance and also had five rebounds.

“Teams are double teaming RaShaya, double teaming Jazmyn. Selling out totally and leaving Ayana exposed down there,” Jordan said. “What she’s doing is simply finishing. Showing herself in the post, catching it and finishing strong. She played a (great) game to today.”

Turner added seven boards to her 13 points. RaShaya Kyle finished with seven points, nine rebounds and four assists.

 

 

Mast led West Noble with 13 points.

The Giants were 20-of-28 on field goal attempts in the game.