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Patriots sweep Huricane to stay unbeaten in 5A East action

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Marion scores first win over Jonesboro in five years

Marion School District The Marion Patriots entered last night’s home date at Fidelity Bank Arena with Jonesboro in search of a true resume win.

Mission accomplished.

Marion improved to 7-1 overall and 5-0 in the 5AEast by juking Jonesboro (7-2, 4-1) in straight sets (25-17, 29-27 and 25-21).

The win snapped a ninegame losing streak to Jonesboro dating to the 2016 Class 6A state championship game and left the Patriots in sole possession of first place in league play. “I thought we played really tough and made plays when we needed it,” said Marion coach Lisa Beasley. “Anytime you can beat Jonesboro that’s a big deal.

To win in three is even better. I’m thrilled tonight with our team.”

Marion senior Anna Caroline Fesmire recorded 15 assists and posted 13 kills. Senior Daedrianna Cail paced Marion with 18 kills while senior Lauryn Keith dished a team-high 23 assists. Junior Kiah Rucker logged seven kills and seven blocks while senior Madison Keith tallied a team-high 24 digs in her return to the lineup after missing the past two games with a shoulder injury.

Marion raced out of the gates against Jonesboro, taking an early 5-2 lead following back-to-back Cail kills. The lead swelled to 9-3 as Fesmire pounded a pair of kills and assisted a Rucker kill to force a Jonesboro timeout.

But Jonesboro battled tough, trailing just 16-13 following a Marion error midway through the set.

That’s when Cail and Fesmire dragged the Pats to the finish line, each accounting for three kills down the stretch as Marion pulled away for a 25-17 conquest.

The second set was tense throughout, featuring 28 ties. Jonesboro ripped off four straight points for an 11-7 lead to force a Marion timeout. The Pats pulled within 12-11 when senior Riley Jackson pounded a kill. A Jonesboro error evened the score at 15-15 and neither team led by more than two points the rest of the way.

Cail logged consecutive kills to give Marion a 2221 lead and Jackson’s third kill of the set pushed the Pats ahead 23-22.

Fesmire recorded three kills and lofted an assist for Cail that gave Marion a dramatic 29-27 second set victory.

“We didn’t always play great in that second set, but we kept scratching and clawing,” said Beasley.

“That was a big momentum set for us.”

The momentum sparked the hosts into the third set as Marion tallied four of the first five points. After Fesmire converted a pair of assists from Lauryn Keith and Rucker blocked a Jonesboro kill attempt at the net, the Pats led 8-3 and forced a Jonesboro timeout. The active Rucker continued her good play after the stoppage, recording three kills and two blocks before junior Kelsey Baker served an ace to give Marion a 166 advantage, which forced Jonesboro’s second timeout.

Marion led 19-10 before Jonesboro hit the comeback trail, scoring four straight points as Beasley called for time. The Jonesboro run got the Golden Hurricane within 19-16 before Rucker and Fesmire pounded kills for a five-point lead.

Jonesboro crept within 2019 before Rucker logged a pair of kills and Cail managed one of her own for a 23-20 advantage.

Jonesboro appeared to score to move within 2422, but the officials reversed the point to Marion to give the Patriots their first win over Jonesboro since the 2016 district title game.

Marion hosts West Memphis tonight at Premier Bank Arena. That game will be streamed on marionpatriots.com.

Photo by Londa Hamrick

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