With first place in the Crossroads League on the line, Marian proved to be too much, handily defeating Goshen College 77-65 in women’s basketball action Saturday afternoon in Gunden Gymnasium.

In a game with potential to go down to the wire, a fourth quarter frenzy helped the fourth-ranked bury the 21st-ranked Maple Leafs late.

Marian’s fierce zone defense and transition attack caught Goshen off guard as the Knights jumped out to a quick 13-2 lead to start the contest. By slowing the pace and attacking the paint, the Leafs pieced together a run of their own, ending the quarter down just five, 18-13.

Goshen maintained the momentum to start the second quarter through a methodical pace and persistent attack. A timely three-pointer from Tyra Carver, a senior, brought the Maple Leafs within two, 20-18, with just over seven minutes left in the second quarter.

The teams traded baskets until the buzzer, which the Leafs earning their first and only lead of the contest, 30-29, with 30 seconds left until half. The lead lasted a mere five seconds before the Knights tossed in two quick buckets to end the half up 33-30.

The third quarter proved to be much of the same, with the Maple Leafs simply sticking within striking distance. A steady quarter both offensively and defensively from Carver kept hopes alive, however, a barrage of turnovers and poor outside shooting from Goshen saw the Knight lead increase to five, 51-46, heading into the final frame.

The Knights erupted with a 10-3 run to start the final quarter, shutting out any hopes of a late comeback for Goshen. Despite strong shooting from junior Sophia Sears in the final stanza, the deficit grew to a game-high 16, ending in a key victory for Marian.

Gabby Williams, a junior, finished just shy of her 10th double-double on the season, recording 11 points and nine rebounds. Sophia Sears, a junior, added a team high 17 points, and Carver finished with 16 points of her own.

Goshen’s season continued Wednesday night on the road at Taylor University, with the game finishing after print deadline. The second half of the conference season begins Saturday when the team travels to Fort Wayne to play St. Francis, tip-off at 1 p.m.