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Pioneers take care of Purple Raiders, 66-55

Pioneers take care of Purple Raiders, 66-55
Pioneers take care of Purple Raiders, 66-55

Despite a few intense moments, the Pioneers maintained control throughout the match, securing a 66-55 victory.

Olivia Gribble initiated the scoring for Marietta with a basket, followed by a well-executed putback from Mackenzie Wilson and a steal by Paige Tolson, leading to two points. An and-1 play by Hannah Kroft put the Pioneers ahead 11-4 midway through the first quarter. Marietta’s defense forced a shot clock violation by Mount Union towards the end of the quarter, and threes by Adi Hill and Ally Grake extended the Pioneers’ lead to 19-6.

Gribble once again opened the scoring in the second quarter, while Mount Union’s Mckayla Dunkle hit a three to bring the Purple Raiders into double digits. Midway through the quarter, Marietta’s Sophia Murray executed an impressive defensive move, tipping the ball out of the Mount Union player’s hand, resulting in a turnover. At halftime, Marietta led 31-17.

Mount Union’s triples by Reese Triplett and Ali Hudik prompted a Pioneer timeout as their lead narrowed to six points at 31-25. Marietta responded with back-to-back threes of their own, with Tolson and Madison Cecil contributing. Gribble added another three as the Pioneers began to extend their lead. Just before the end of the third quarter, Marietta executed a well-designed play, passing the ball upcourt, and Grake found Kroft under the basket for an easy score. Marietta led 49-33 going into the fourth.

Pioneers take care of Purple Raiders, 66-55
Pioneers take care of Purple Raiders, 66-55

The Purple Raiders showcased resilience, with threes by Addison Mucci and Lily Sweeney, along with a successful and-1 by Elizabeth Mason, reducing the Pios’ lead to 10 at 59-49. Despite Mason’s additional and-1, Tolson countered with an and-1 and made free throws. Marietta effectively managed the clock to secure the win.

Tolson led the Pioneers in scoring with 24 points, while Levering contributed a game-high 13 rebounds. Mount Union’s top scorer, Mason, finished with 19 points.

Marietta head coach Kole Vivian expressed satisfaction with the team’s performance, noting strong defensive energy in the first quarter against Mount Union. Despite some challenges in the fourth quarter, he praised the overall effort, highlighting Tolson’s exceptional play as a catalyst for the team’s success. With the recent win against John Carroll, Vivian secured his 132nd victory as the head coach, becoming the winningest coach in program history. He credited the success to the collaborative efforts of the coaching staff and the commitment of players to the program.

Looking ahead, Marietta is set to host Heidelberg on Saturday during Winter Weekend, with the women’s game at 1 p.m., followed by the men’s game at 3 p.m. Vivian anticipates a competitive matchup against Heidelberg, emphasizing the importance of being prepared for their opponent’s determined approach.

In men’s basketball action, the 15th-ranked Mount Union defeated Marietta College 92-84 in Ohio Athletic Conference play. The Pioneers, with an overall record of 11-5 and 5-4 in the OAC, faced a tough challenge as Mount Union showcased a strong start with three consecutive three-pointers and a 22-point lead in the first 12 minutes. Despite Marietta’s efforts to narrow the gap, Mount Union maintained control.

Marietta displayed resilience in the second half, with successful three-pointers contributing to a tied score at 79-79. However, Mount Union secured the lead in the final minutes, ultimately winning 92-84. De’Ovion Price led the Pioneers with 19 points, while Christian Parker led the Purple Raiders with 26 points and 11 rebounds. Despite the loss, Marietta remains competitive in the OAC with room for improvement in future games.

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