(San Marcos) – The Marion girls basketball team will face one of its regular season opponents tonight in the area round of the 3A Region IV playoffs when the Bulldogs take on Blanco at San Marcos Baptist Academy.
Marion beat the Panthers 46-38 in the Fredericksburg Tournament back on Dec. 8, and the winner of tonight’s playoff rematch will move on to the regional quarterfinals.
The Bulldogs have qualified for the UIL playoffs in all 13 of Kollyn McWhinney’s seasons as the program’s head coach, winning seven district titles while advancing to six regional tournaments and one state tournament (2006) during that span.
McWhinney, who surpassed 300 career wins earlier this season, takes a 2017 squad with a 25-8 record into tonight’s area playoff game.
The Bulldogs initially finished second in District 27-3A with a 12-2 district record after an 11-0 start, but first-place Hallettsville had to forfeit their final two district games because they played two more regular season contests than the UIL allows.
As a result, Marion became the 27-3A champion and claimed the district’s No. 1 playoff seed. The Bulldogs opened the playoffs with a 62-44 blowout of Van Vleck on Tuesday.
Marion (No. 22) is one of six teams in the Region IV bracket ranked among the state’s Top 25 by the Texas Association of Basketball Coaches. The other schools on that list include San Diego (12th), Goliad (16th), Poth (17th), Hallettsville (18th), and Odem (20th).
Blanco (17-10), coached by Stuart Schultz, finished second in District 25-3A behind Lago Vista with a 7-3 district record and advanced to the area playoffs with a 66-58 win over Jourdanton in the bi-district round.
Kendall Brock, a 5’10” junior, poured in 26 points to lead the Panthers in that game. Sophomore guard Lily Avila, listed at 5’0”, added 20 points, and 5’11” junior Skyler Wiseman finished with 10.
Marion dealt with some adversity eight games into the district schedule when senior point guard Natalie Deml tore her ACL and was lost for the season. At the time, Deml was leading the Bulldogs in scoring (11.8), assists (3.4), and steals (3.9). She also led Marion with 12 points, six steals, and four assists in the Dec. 8 win over Blanco.
The team has adjusted by emphasizing a balanced attack, with Brianna Randle (9.6), Madelyn Abrameit (9.4), Samantha Hopper (8.5), Stacey Radtke (6.5), and Alex Leos (5.6) all averaging between five and 10 points per game.
Radtke, a 6’0” senior who recently signed with Texas Lutheran University, has been Marion’s strongest inside presence defensively and on the backboards with team-high averages of 8.1 rebounds and 2.5 blocked shots per game. Randle (6.3) and Madison Batey (6.0) have been strong rebounders for the Bulldogs as well.
Tonight’s opening tip at San Marcos Academy (2801 Ranch Road 12) is slated for 7 p.m. The game will air live on KWED 1580 AM and Seguintoday.com, with pre-game coverage at 6:45.