Scoring the first seven points of the third quarter, the Borgia basketball Lady Knights nudged past Union Wednesday and held on for a 53-47 victory in the Borgia Competitive Edge Tournament Wednesday.
“We’ve played them a couple of times in this tournament and it’s always a really tough matchup for us,” Borgia Head Coach Stacia Houlihan said. “Tonight was no different. It was a really fun game and a well-played game on both sides.”
Union Head Coach Dusty Weiskopf said his team played hard, but couldn’t pull off the win.
“We just kept it close and couldn’t get over the hump tonight,” Weiskopf said. “I thought our kids played really hard.”
With the win, Borgia (9-10) advances to the championship game Saturday against Cardinal Ritter while Union (10-9) plays Parkway South for third place.
The Union-Parkway South game will tip off at 3 p.m. with the Borgia-Cardinal Ritter game following at 4:30 p.m.
“We’re familiar with Cardinal Ritter and we’ve had battles with them,” Houlihan said. “It’s going to be fun.”
Union is looking forward to the third-place game.
“That’s our goal,” said Weiskopf. “We wanted to compete. Those girls are heartbroken in there for a reason. They wanted to win tonight. I told them they couldn’t hang their heads because we want to come out and take a trophy home Saturday. For a No. 6 seed playing for third place, I’m pretty impressed. We’ll keep it going.”
Borgia led for much of the Wednesday semifinal against its Class 4 District 6 rival, taking a 10-7 lead into the second quarter.
Union responded, knocking down five of its seven three-point baskets in the second quarter to go up at the break, 24-23.
Borgia ended with the final basket of the second quarter and started the third quarter with seven points in a row. Senior Cassidy Moss scored the first two baskets and Grace Gettemeier knocked down a three to put Borgia ahead by six points, 30-24.
Borgia changed up its defense as well, moving from a zone to man-to-man and that took away some of the outside shooting opportunities for Union.
“We play man-to-man a lot this season, so we switched to man-to-man and I think they hit one three after that,” Houlihan said. “They shot the ball extremely well in that first half. After that adjustment, we could peck away at it a little bit.”
Weiskopf said Borgia’s change in defenses made a difference.
“They were busting their zone and we knew they were going to go to man-to-man,” Weiskopf said. “At times, it helped us because it opened up things and we were able to score some points. At other times, it wore us down and we made some poor choices.”
In fact, the Lady ’Cats didn’t hit a three-point basket in the third quarter. However, Union was able to find ways to keep up with the Lady Knights. Union went on a 6-2 run to follow with Kennedy Reeser driving for all six points.
“It’s a pick your poison,” Weiskopf said. “If you play man-to-man against us, it does give us some fits, but also some looks. Kennedy is really quick. If you zone us, we can hit some shots.”
Borgia led 34-30 late in the quarter when Union’s Emily Gaebe stole an inbounds pass and scored to cut Borgia’s lead to 34-32 going to the final quarter.
Borgia got the first two baskets of the final quarter, from Moss and Dani Kimminau, to push the cushion back to four points. Union worked back and cut it to one, 41-40, on a pair of Taylor Seely free throws with 4:53 to play.
Borgia turned to Moss again, who set up teammate Avery Lackey with a basket. Seely again hit a pair of free throws to make it 43-42 with 3:10 to play.
Gettemeier, Borgia’s big scorer in the first-round win over Rockwood Summit, knocked down another three, but Kaylee Bunch responded for Union.
Lackey scored with 1:53 to go to give Borgia a three-point edge and hit another inside basket to make it a two-possession game. Julia Overstreet scored off of a steal for Union, but that was the final basket for the Lady ’Cats. Borgia made one of four free throws down the stretch and got a final basket from Kimminau off a turnover to push the final margin to five points.
“They got to the free-throw line early and often in that second half,” Houlihan said. “That actually kept them in the game for a little bit and made it into a run at the end. We missed a couple of free throws at the end to give them a chance. We had much better game management at the end than earlier in the season. If this game is played in December, we lose. We’re learning.”
Lackey was Borgia’s leading scorer with 17 points. She also had six blocked shots, two rebounds, two steals and one assist.
“Avery Lackey had a really good game and really changed the dynamics inside the lane,” Houlihan said. “That took away their inside post play.”
Weiskopf said Lackey did a good job.
“Lackey really impressed me and did some good things,” Weiskopf said.
Moss scored 17 points and added six assists, six rebounds, five steals and four blocked shots.
“Cassidy Moss puts the team on her back,” Houlihan said. “We joke in the locker room that everyone can’t run away from her and she will need some help. She is just so good and so confident that we trust her to make the right decisions.”
Weiskopf credited Moss.
“She is unbelievable,” Weiskopf said. “When she wants to play, she’s the best kid in the area and I think she came to play tonight.”
Gettemeier hit all three of Borgia’s three-point baskets and closed with 11 points, five rebounds, three assists and three steals.
“Grace had 26 points in the last game,” Houlihan said. “They’re going to be keying in on her. She still made some tough threes to give us the boost we needed.”
Kimminau added four points, three rebounds, two steals and one assist.
Lynnae Grus came off the bench and ended with three points and five rebounds.
“Lynnae Grus came in and gave us really good minutes early in the game to show Avery what can be done,” Houlihan said.
Josie Lindemann and Julia Struckhoff scored two points apiece. Struckhoff also had three rebounds, two assists and a steal.
Anya Castelli contributed two assists.
Union had seven three-point baskets in the game with five of them coming in the second quarter. The other two were in the first and fourth quarters.
Overstreet led Union in scoring with 15 points. She had three of the three-point baskets.
Bunch was next with 12 points, all on three-point shots.
Seely scored nine points and had all of Union’s made free throws with six.
Reeser ended with eight points. Gaebe added two points.
Union went 6-7 from the free-throw line while Borgia was 4-11 on the night.