Marion downs Paragould to stay unbeaten in 5A play
Patriots handle Rams in straight sets to take road win
Marion School District PARAGOULD —- The Marion Patriots have done a majority of their best work so far this season at home in the friendly confines of Fidelity Bank Arena.
Until last night, when the Patriots (6-1 overall, 4-0 5A-East) migrated north and popped the Paragould Rams in three straight sets (25-15, 25-22 and 25-15) at Doc Paynter Court.
Marion’s sixth consecutive victory sets the stage for what could prove the season’s decisive week as the Patriots host last year’s state runner-up Jonesboro and Crittenden County rival West Memphis on Tuesday and Thursday, respectively.
The Paragould match offered added intrigue considering Marion coach Lisa Beasley was a multi-sport athlete at Paragould.
Paragould coach Reed Fogleman, a 2008 Marion graduate, played for Beasley in her prosperous prep career.
“I’m so proud of how our girls persevered and overcame that environment in three sets,” said Beasley.
“We had some girls in new positions playing without (senior) Madison (Keith), but we had some other girls step up and play well. It just makes a coach really proud to see that.”
Marion bolted out of the gates, scoring eight of the first 10 points to force a Ram timeout. Senior Daedrianna Cail posted three kills while senior Anna Caroline Fesmire pounded a kill and dished three assists to highlight the run. Senior Lauryn Keith and Cail served aces as the Marion advantage swelled to 11-3.
The Patriots scored five straight points to push ahead 20-9 as senior Kiara Ledezma logged a pair of kills and Marion took advantage of four Paragould hitting errors to coast to a 25-15 opening set victory.
But Paragould responded in the second set by taking advantage of four early Marion errors to claim a three-point lead three times, the latest a 7-4 bulge.
That’s when senior Kora Wilson, Fesmire and junior Kiah Rucker logged kills before senior Emerson Miller served an ace to pull the Pats even at 8-8.
Ledezma and junior Meredith Williams tallied kills to push the Pats ahead 11-9.
Paragould responded by scoring 10 of the next 18 points for a 19-17 advantage to force a Marion timeout, which ultimately sparked the visitors. Kills by Fesmire and Cail pushed the Patriots ahead 20-19 before Fesmire lofted a perfect pass to Cail just before Wilson served an ace to give Marion a 2220 lead, forcing a Paragould timeout.
Wilson willed another ace for a 23-20 lead immediately following the stoppage and Marion scored the last three points to pull out a 25-22 victory. Paragould popped Marion for four of the first six points in the third set before Cail blocked a kill at the net leading to a Keith ace and a Fesmire kill for a 5-4 Marion lead. A Ledezma kill stopped a run of four straight Paragould points to pull the Pats even at 9-9. Kills from Wilson and Fesmire pushed Marion ahead 11-9.
Wilson recorded a kill leading to a kill and an ace by Fesmire as Marion took a 14-10 lead to force a Paragould timeout. Marion scored four of the next five points for an 18-11 lead.
Paragould took advantage of four Marion errors to pull within 19-15 before Cail, Ledezma and Fesmire logged two kills apiece to push the Pats to the finish line of a 25-15 victory in the third set.
“I’m just proud because we fought through a few hiccups and faced some adversity,” said Beasley. “But we pushed through as a team and picked up a big win.”
Marion hosts Jonesboro Tuesday and West Memphis Thursday at Fidelity Bank Arena. Those games will be streamed on marionpatriots.com.
Photo by Londa Hamrick