MURPHYSBORO — Kayla Walker scored 27 points and Arie Ciganovich made five 3-pointers to lead Murphysboro to a 59-38 win over Marion in a non-conference girls basketball game on Thursday.
"We established an inside and an outside game," said Murphysboro coach Keith Jones. "Our offense had been a little sluggish the last two games and we made some changes to a couple of positions and it seemed to work out."
Murphysboro snapped the Wildcats’ four-game win streak and won its second straight game to improve to 8-2 while Marion dropped to 7-3.
Walker missed her career high by one point while Ciganovich finished with 17 points, including the five 3-pointers all in the first half. Walker also finished with nine rebounds, a blocked shot and a steal.
"We were really good in transition tonight," Walker said. "Our game plan was to slow their shooting down and keep their bigs off the boards."
Murphysboro forced 16 turnovers with 10 coming on steals. Ashley Jarrett, Island Dooley and Madison LaBranche had two steals each. Murphysboro committed only two turnovers in the first half and had only eight in the game.
"We took care of the ball and finally played good again after two not so good ones," Jones said. "Hopefully we’re back on track now."
Murphysboro led 6-4 when Ciganovich sank her first 3-pointer from the top of key. Abby Bayer matched her with a 3-pointer from the right corner, but Ciganovich hit back-to-back 3s from the top of the key and then the right corner.
Bayer and Jasa Bell led the Wildcats with 10 points with Lauryn Kadela adding nine points.
Walker made it five 3-point plays in a row when the senior center stole the ball and drew a foul as she scored on a layup and then made the free throw to give the Red Devils an 11-point lead with 28.7 seconds left in the first quarter.
Bayer hit a jumper with five seconds left and the Wildcats opened the second quarter on a 6-2 run to cut the lead back to five at the 2:39 mark.
The Red Devils roared back with a 14-5 run, including Ciganovich’s fourth and fifth 3-pointers to take a 14-point lead at the half.
"We were in a deep hole early on and couldn’t dig out of it at all," said Marion coach Mike Manfredo. "When he made us come out and play man their quickness really exploited us then. We worked really hard on their press and I thought we did a great job of taking care of that, but we just couldn’t stop them on the half-court."
Murphysboro extended its lead to 16 points on a jumper by Jarrett to open the second half and after Bell scored on a putback Walker scored on a layup down the lane.
Cassandra Woods then scored followed by two free throws by Bayer. Kadela then drew a shooting foul and made her first free throw. She missed her second, but Bell pulled down the rebound and fed Kadela for a layup cutting the lead down to nine with 3:59 remaining in the third period.
Walker closed out the quarter with another layup down the lane, two free throws and after Dooley scored with 48 seconds remaining to extend the lead to 15. Walker drew another foul with 2.6 second left and split her free throws to up the lead back to 16 heading into the fourth quarter.
Ciganovich hit a two-point jumper to open the fourth quarter. After Kadela scored again, Walker responded with another driving layup. Kadela came right back with a jumper from the left corner and Jordan Turner followed with a 3-pointer from the left side to cut the lead to 13 with 5:05 remaining, but that was as close as the Wildcats could get.