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Marion Local basketball advances to regional final with 69-49 win over Russia

Marion Local advances to basketball regional final
Marion Local advances to basketball regional final

The little school that can, is at it again

The state of Ohio is just coming around to the fact that Marion Local is an athletic power. Matter of fact, they are the best sports program in the state of Ohio. The football team won its third straight state championship last fall, and is generally considered the best small school football program in the last 15 years. While the football team is mainly what they are known for....

The basketball team is making a name for itself this post season

The Flyers advanced to the state's "Elite 8" in Division IV with an impressive 69-49 win last night over Russia. It's the same Russia team that Marion Local squeaked by 59-57 just three weeks ago in a regular season game. The Flyers will now take on the winner of the game between Troy Christian and New Madison Tri-Village on Friday night at 7:30 p.m. at Kettering Fairmount High School, for a trip to the state final four. If they win Friday, it will be the Flyers first trip to the final four since 2004, when they were state runners-up.

The dream was almost derailed in the district semi-finals

Trailing Upper Scioto Valley by as many as 13 points in the fourth quarter, the Flyers rallied, and took their only lead of the game on a steal and layup by 6'7" senior Ryan Bruns win ten seconds left, giving the Flyers a 47-46 win. Matter of fact, the whole run through this year's tournament has been no picnic for the Flyers. Seeded third in their sectional and district, Marion Local first defeated sixth seeded Minster 58-51 in a hard fought game. Their reward was to take on top seeded Fort Recovery in the sectional final. Despite Fort Recovery slowing the game down, the Flyers prevailed 27-23. Next up was the wild game against top seed in the district Upper Scioto Valley. In the district final, the Flyers took on second seeded Arlington. Using their 2-3 zone to perfection, they held Arlington to just 21 percent shooting in a 44-34 win.

What makes this Flyer team so good?

For one, they are huge. They sport a front line that most Division I schools would covet. Center Luke Knapke leads the size brigade at 6'10". Forward Ryan Bruns comes in at 6'7", and Adam Bertke, the quarterback on the state championship football team, comes in at 6'6". With that size along the back line, it allows the Flyers guards to pressure the ball, knowing that if they do get beat, the "Land of the Giants" await in the key for the opposing guards.

Two, you never know who will lead them in scoring. All five starters have led them in scoring during the season. In last night's game against Russia, it was guard Dustin Rethman who got off to a hot start with seven first quarter points. In the district final game against Arlington, it was guard Cole Greisdorn who lead the Flyers with 19 points for the game.

The task doesn't get any easier

The Flyers, ranked 11th in the final Division IV state poll, will have to beat a top ten team in order to advance to Columbus, as both Troy Christian and New Madison Tri-Village both are top ten ranked teams. If they make it to Columbus, more state ranked teams should await, so the path to the coveted state championship won't be an easy one.

For the hard working kids at Maria Stein Marion Local, it's just the way they want it

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