MARION — Moundridge High School head coach Brian Holloway really emphasized to his team the importance of a fast start before Tuesday’s game at Marion. The message was received loud and clear as the Wildcats nearly held Marion scoreless in the first quarter, while cruising to a 39-26 win.

“We want to start hot and fast — it has kind of been our M.O. this season,” Holloway said. “We haven’t had that hot start the past couple of games so that was a big focus for us.”

The No. 8 ranked Wildcats put the game away by the end of the first quarter. Moundridge led 10-0 before Marion finally put a point on the board — a free throw at the 1:08 mark. By the time the first quarter came to a close, the Wildcats were up 12-1 and in full control.

The Wildcats led 18-8 at halftime before the Bethany Stucky show started.

Stucky scored 10 of her game high 17 points in the third quarter, most of which came inside in the paint. Moundridge held a slight height advantage over Marion, something that Holloway knew his team needed to take advantage of.

“We’re not a very big team but tonight we had the advantage,” Holloway said. “We wanted to establish the inside game early, which we were able to do.”

The Moundridge defense allowed 18 points in the second half after only giving up eight in the first half. The Wildcats stifled Marion in the half court, but transition defense is where Holloway believes his team can improve.

“They scored most of their points in transition due to us not getting back,” Holloway said. “We changed some things up defensively in the second half to try and catch them off guard, and I think it worked.”

Lexi Lorimor joined Stucky in double digits with 11 points. Natalie Kaufman pitched in with eight.

The Wildcats are back in action on Friday when they travel to Hutchinson Trinity.

Contact Gallagher Martin by email at gmartin@mcphersonsentinel.com and follow him on Twitter @GMartinSentinel.