The Foresters put the clamps on defensively to beat Marian College 62-52 in the opening round of the Mid-Central Conference tournament. Huntington held the Knights to 33% shooting from the field for the game and knocked down enough free throws late to advance to the semifinals on Friday. With top-seeded Bethel College defeating eighth-seeded Goshen 79-52 in another first round match-up, the fourth-seeded Foresters will travel to Mishawaka on Friday to take on the NAIA 5th-ranked Pilots at 7:00 p.m.
Jenna Donaldson paced Huntington with her 16 points while Erica Yost and Kendra Stahl each had 13. Ryleigh Carr chipped in seven points, eight rebounds and four steals off the bench to spark the Foresters. Kristin Houck led Marian with 16 points. Jessica Carr finished with 15 points and nine rebounds.
Both teams struggled to find any offense early in the contest and Huntington (17-12) was down 12-8 at the mid-point of the half. A short jumper by Stahl at the 7:46 mark put the Foresters on top 13-12 and they never trailed again. Huntington extended the lead to seven over the next four minutes and headed to the locker room up 25-19.
The Knights trimmed the deficit to 25-23 early in the second half, but the Foresters answered with a 7-2 run to push it back to seven. Again Marian pulled within three, but Ryleigh Carr sparked a 12-3 run with a steal and an offensive rebound that led to four charity tosses to give Huntington a 44-32 advantage with 9:54 to play. The Knights battled back within six with five minutes remaining, but the Foresters quickly pushed the margin back to 12 and then closed out the win at the line.