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Giants defense locks down Elwood in road win

BY Mike LINVILE - sports@elwoodpublishing.com

ELWOOD - Early in Wednesday night’s girls varsity basketball game all the shouting was about host Elwood’s Gabby Leavell closing in the 1,000 career point mark.

The Panther senior hit a jumper at 1:05 of the first quarter to reach that milestone.

However, from that point on it was almost all Marion as the Giants full-court pressure kept the Panthers off the scoreboard for the last 20 seconds of the first quarter and until the 5:54 mark of the third, and with 26 unanswered points by the Giants, Marion won 52-28.

 “Actually over the holiday break we’ve been focusing on it (defense),” Marion varsity coach Lawrence Jordan said. “At Mississinewa last night, we held them to eight points in the first half and we came out with the same type of intensity and effort tonight and held them to 10 (points in the first half).”

 That intensity and effort limited Elwood to just four shots and no points in the second quarter. That intensity and effort created 18 Panther turnovers in that eight minute span.

Marion made 11 steals over the first half, led four each by Ella Vermillion and Del’Reann Horton.

 “It’s all a type of run-and-jump (defense) which is all effort and intensity,” Lawrence said. “We were just trying to create some havoc, not let them get comfortable and double-team that ball and having the people not an the ball play a help-side area instead of a person, and it’s been a buy in. It’s been working really well for us.”

On the other end of the floor, Marion’s 6-foot-1 Jazmyn Turner claimed game-scoring honors with 20 points, hitting 10 times from the floor, while 6-foot-6 Ra Shaya Kyle added 18 points. She also blocked six shots in the game.

Also in double-figures, Vermilion scored 10 points, including two three-pointers and 2-of-2 free throws.Also for the GIants, Horton and Markeisha Jackson each added a basket.

“Everyone like to focus in on the two ‘twin towers’ (Turner and Kyle) but we’re way more than that,” Lawrence said.“Ella Vermilion, my point guard, she’s a knockdown shooter and she really works hard. It’s a total team effort.”

 Leavell finished with 11 points in the game, and Panther teammate Brooke Creamer also scored 11.

 After a back and fourth first quarter, and with Marion up 12-10 with 20 second left in the opening frame, the Giants scored the next 26 points of the game.

 The Giants lead reached double-figures at 6:13 of the second quarter on a hoop by Turner off a steal by Horton. Marion’s margin reached 20 points on Jackson’s hoop at 3:03 of the second quarter.

 Marion led 34-10 at halftime, and out of the break, Turner tallied twice more before Elwood finally broke the scoring ice on a basket by Meleah Ruder at 5:54. However, by that time, the Giants edge was 38-12.

 Marion is 15-2 on the season and faces Logansport on Saturday in a North Central Conference contest. The Giants are 6-1 in the conference.

 Elwood is 6-13 on the season and hosts Alexandria on Friday.