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STATE CHAMPS! Marauders beat Hamilton Heights
March 2, 2013Hancock County Sports
A season of adversity ended with the ultimate reward for the Mt. Vernon Marauders Saturday night at the Hulman Center.
The Marauders beat the Hamilton Heights Huskies 61-47 to win the IHSAA Class 3A girls basketball state championship. MV only trailed once -- at 5-2 -- and dominated inside en route to the victory. The Marauders finished the first quarter on a 14-2 run to lead 16-7 after a quarter, pushed it to 32-20 at the break, and then scored the first five of the third quarter.
MV's lead dipped inside double digits only once in the second half -- after a Haley Cook-led 8-point run cut the lead to 37-28 midway through the third -- but the Marauders responded by getting the ball inside to Erica Moore, who hit four straight free throws to push the edge to 41-28 going into the fourth. Moore hit a three-point play and Rachel Houck a 3-pointer to make it a 47-28 game, and put it away.
Sydney Shelton finished the night with 29 points -- four short of Katie Gearlds' record for a 3A title game. She was 5-of-9 from 3-point range, setting 3A State Finals records for both 3s made and 3-point percentage. Her 7-0 run gave MV a 9-5 lead, and she had 17 points at halftime. She added nine in the fourth quarter to help put the game away.
Moore also had a huge night, with 14 points and an IHSAA 3A State Finals-record 15 rebounds. HH limited her to three first-half points, but she attacked often in the second half and hit 3-of-6 from the floor and 5-of-5 from the stripe. Ellie Balbach added six points and nine rebounds.
Houck scored nine points -- hitting 3-of-4 from 3-point range -- and added a team-high six assists. Shaely Duff and Shelton had four assists each.
The Marauders' 8-of-14 shooting from 3-point range tied a State Finals record for 3-point percentage.
MV limited HH's top two scorers -- Cook and Dakota Weatherford -- to 6-of-29 shooting. The Huskies, as a team, hit 34 percent from the floor.
The 16 3-pointers made by the two teams combined also set a 3A State Finals record, and tied an overall state championship game record. HH was 8-of-22 from behind the arc.
MV dominated the glass, outrebounding HH 38-22 -- allowing for a 13-0 advantage in second-chance points.
The Marauders won their first-ever state championship, and the first for a Hancock County school. MV had been the state runner-up in 1977 and 2012 -- last year, falling by three to Fort Wayne Concordia. The Marauders battled injuries -- Moore and Balbach missed seven games each due to injury, and Olivia Coleman went down in the season's second game. Assistant coach Tom Kirby suffered a health issue during Thursday's practice, but returned to coach on Saturday.
MV finishes the season with a 23-4 record.