Rallying in overtime, the Union basketball Lady ’Cats survived to play another day.
Union (16-10) scraped past Salem (16-11) in the opening round of the Class 4 District 10 Tournament Saturday at Union, 47-44.
“Just like St. James Head Coach Terry Wells said last night, it was ugly, but we’re not in a beauty pageant,” Union Head Coach Dusty Weiskopf said. “We’ll take a win. At this point, I don’t care how they come. This one was as sloppy as they come, but we grinded it out and continued to make the plays we needed to make.”
The fifth-seeded Lady ’Cats advanced to face top-seeded Rolla Monday in the semifinals.
Union led for much of the game. It was 10-10 after one quarter and Union led 27-25 at the half and 34-32 after three quarters.
The Lady Tigers came back to take the lead late in the fourth quarter.
Salem’s standout Taylor Norris hit a three-point basket with 2:29 to play to give Salem the lead, 40-37. Salem missed a chance to extend the lead, but missed a free throw. That set up Union’s Taylor Seely, who hit the game-tying three from the corner in front of the bench with 49 seconds to play.
“Taylor hit the big shot in the corner,” Weiskopf said.
Again, both teams had chances. Union had the ball in the closing seconds, but couldn’t generate the shot it wanted. That sent the contest into overtime tied at 40-40.
“That was not what we wanted,” Weiskopf said. “I think we froze up. We had a shot, but passed on it. When you’ve got three or four sophomores out there, you can practice it all you want, but it happens.”
Julia Overstreet broke the tie 1:07 into the overtime, scoring on a layup while being fouled. She missed the free throw, but Union was up, 42-40.
Union’s Megan Siedhoff hit a free throw and Emily Gaebe scored with 1:28 to play to give Union a 45-40 advantage, but Salem wasn’t done.
Madison Woolf scored off a rebound. Union got a Siedhoff free throw to extend it to 46-42. After Tatum Hatridge hit a basket, Salem again fouled and Maddie Helling hit a final three throw for Union with 5.2 seconds to play.
Norris had her shot go off the rim at the buzzer and Union squeaked into the semifinals.
“It’s one of those things that when you make shots, you look good,” Weiskopf said. “We made just enough shots. I think the big key to me was that we guarded and we rebounded. We didn’t give them a whole lot of extra possessions. We had a lot of huge rebounds that really helped us out.”
Seely was Union’s top scorer, netting 20 points while going 9-9 from the free-throw line.
“When you’re a senior and you know time is dwindling down, we’ve talked about consistency,” Weiskopf said. “The last four or five games, she’s been very consistent. She’s an unbelievable kid and it’s been a good run. Hopefully, we can keep it going.”
Overstreet caught fire from beyond the arc and knocked down four of Union’s six three-point baskets. She ended with 14 points.
“That’s a process,” Weiskopf said. “She’s starting to shoot the ball a little better. She had confidence. For a sophomore, you’ve got to have confidence. Today, when the ball left her hands, it was going in.”
Gaebe fought off intense pressure to close with 10 points.
“I thought Gaebe was getting to the rack a lot, but things were not necessarily going her way,” Weiskopf said. “She kept fighting.”
Siedhoff added two points and Helling scored one.
“Siedhoff did a good job taking care of the ball,” Weiskopf said.
Union went 3-8 in overtime from the free-throw line and was 14-26 from the stripe in the game.
“Kaylee Bunch was coming off of some illness and she fought,” Weiskopf said. “They’re a tough, rugged team. They made us work for every single thing.”
Norris led Salem with 15 points and hit two of the team’s four three-point baskets.
“We knew we had to contain her,” Weiskopf said. “I thought we did a pretty good job on their shooters for the most part.”
Woolf and Autumn Manthey each scored nine points.
Bella Jadwin was next with six points and Hatridge ended with five points.
Salem was 4-10 from the free-throw line in the game.