SPRINGFIELD — Kobe Medley made three of four shots from the charity stripe in the final 40 seconds as Springfield Southeast held on to defeat Marion, 56-51, Tuesday in the Springfield Class 3A Super-Sectional.
The Wildcats trailed by nine points with just under two minutes to play. But they gave Southeast a run for its money.
Justin Saddoris scored a pair of baskets, and Jaden Lacy hit a shot as well. That pulled Marion within four. Saddoris drove the lane for a deuce, and Marion trailed 53-51 with 41 seconds left.
But the Wildcats just couldn’t pull it off.
“It wasn’t one of our better performances, but maybe you give Southeast credit for the way they do things defensively,” said Marion coach Gus Gillespie. “The part of the game I’d like to get back was the first quarter. I should have gotten us out of our defense earlier.”
Medley drained three shots from downtown as Southeast took a 16-8 lead after one quarter.
The Marion offense came to life early in the second quarter. Cole Schafer buried a triple, David Fletcher sank two free throws, and Terrell Henderson scored in the paint. That pulled Marion within four.
Marion trailed 21-18 at halftime.
But free throws came back to haunt the Wildcats, who went just 6-for-16 from the line. The Wildcats also committed 19 turnovers.
“We needed a few more free throws to go our way,” Gillespie said. “It was unbelievable the fans that showed. This is a tough drive from Marion on a Tuesday night. What a student body. The maniacs, I’m so proud of them.”
Henderson was huge in the paint for Marion. The senior scored 10 points and grabbed 15 rebounds. Saddoris paced Marion with 13 points, and Lacy added 10.
Medley led all scorers with 19 points for Southeast, which never trailed in the game.
“It’s been too dry at Marion for too long,” Gillespie said. “You need things like this to shoot you in the arm. I know those kids are hurting now because they’re so competitive. The lasting impact they’ve had on this community is going to be big. I want to thank our fans and how passionate they were during this tournament run.”