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Boys Basketball: Assumption Sneaks Past Marion

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CLINTON, Iowa When it comes right down to it, losing their first postseason game a week ago probably would have been easier to swallow than this for the Marion Indians. Way, way easier.

"I was just thinking about that," said Marion's Isaac Frazier, after his team's 51-47 Class 3A substate final loss to third-ranked Davenport Assumption Monday night. "But I'm glad we got this far. You're always happy to get this far."

That's true, but getting one step farther was right there for the massively underdog Indians. They were up at halftime, 25-22, and it was a one-possession game in the final minute.

Sophomore guard Evan Wadsager clutched up with four huge free throws for Assumption (18-6), Marion failed to rebound a missed Knights one-and-one and had a disputed turnover when Brenden Landuyt tripped over an Assumption defender's foot and fell out of bounds.

It added up to heartbreak.

"I thought the first quarter was extremely important for us," said Marion Coach Mike Manderscheid. "That showed we could hang. Once we got through the first quarter, I had all the confidence in the world that we were going to do it."

That's despite the deck being heavily stacked against them. Marion (12-12) lost leading scorer Tyler Gunderson to a suspension for the playoffs for a violation of school policy.

The Indians still went out and surprised Center Point-Urbana and Anamosa for a district title. And they came oh, so close here.

"We knew we were the complete underdogs," said guard Quinn Cannoy, who had a team-high 18 points.

"Coach talked about that a lot, that no one expected us to be here," said Frazier, who added 15 points in a fairly even head-to-head dual with Billy Daniel, Assumption's all-state center. Daniel finished with 24 points.

"That made us work even harder," Frazier said.

"It's just credit to the kids. They came out and played hard," Manderscheid said. "We had great practices. They believed in themselves. You get a little momentum going, and it's like 'Hey, let's ride it.'"

Assumption heads to Des Moines next week for its third state tournament appearance in four years. The Knights felt fortunate to survive.

"We knew they'd come in here and play extremely hard and play well," said coach Joe Barrer. "I don't think they gave up at all, considering they lost a player at the end of the regular season. Credit needs to go to their coaching staff and their kids. I thought they were committed to playing very hard and smart. They didn't back down at all and played a really, really good game."

Just not quite good enough.

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