Playing Wednesday afternoon in the Lutheran South Girls Basketball Tournament, the Union basketball Lady ’Cats defeated Jennings, 52-44.
“It was a great win to start the new year off,” Union Head Coach Dusty Weiskopf said. “After not playing for almost two weeks I knew that game was going to be tough.”
Not only is this a new tournament for the Lady ’Cats, but it’s also a change in when the Lutheran South Tournament is being played. Last year, it was played a month earlier.
With the win, Union (8-1) next plays Ft. Zumwalt West Friday at 5:30 p.m.
“We have the next game mentality,” Weiskopf said. “Wednesday’s win is only as big as the next game we play. Friday night’s game has an interesting dynamic. It’s for bragging rights in our household as my significant other is the head coach at Ft. Zumwalt West. They are a very solid team and will be a tough matchup for us. It will be a great atmosphere, both our kids will be there, lots of fans, and we are just going to try and have some fun with it.”
Friday’s other semifinal is Lutheran South versus Metro at 7 p.m.
Jennings fell to 5-5 and also lost to Herculaneum Thursday in the consolation semifinals.
The final day of action is Saturday. The seventh-place game starts at 11 a.m. while the consolation game will follow at 12:45 p.m. The third-place game runs at 2:30 p.m. and the championship will be played at 4:15 p.m.
Union held a 12-8 lead after one quarter, but Weiskopf said there was a lot more to it than just the score.
“I knew if we could just weather the first quarter and get our legs back we would have a good chance at being successful,” said Weiskopf.
Union held a 22-17 lead at the half and was up 32-25 through three quarters.
Both teams picked up the offense in the final quarter and Union was able to hold on for the victory.
Emily Gaebe led Union’s five scoring players in the game. Three of them reached double digits. Gaebe scored 17 points in the game and went 5-9 from the free-throw line.
Julia Overstreet was next with 11 points, hitting three three-points shots while going 2-2 from the free-throw line.
Kaylee Bunch knocked down two three-point baskets and ended with 10 points.
Megan Siedhoff went 6-6 from the free-throw line and hit a three-point basket while ending with nine points.
Taylor Seely scored all five of her points from the free-throw line, going 5-6.
For the game, Union hit 18 of 24 free-throw attempts while going 9-10 in the final quarter. Union sank four three-point baskets.
Christianna Monger and Aaliyah Scott each scored 13 points for Jennings.
Quiniya Kelly was next with five points. Amoni White and LaDaja Whitt scored four points apiece. Jaleah Carrawell added three points and Makayla Gray chipped in with two points.
Jennings connected on six three-point attempts and went 6-14 from the free-throw line.
“We talk about being consistent,” Weiskopf said. “For us to continue to play at the level we are right now, that is a big factor. Can we be consistent? We have different players each night stepping up and making big plays and we need for that to continue to happen.”
Union hosts its own tournament starting Monday. Union plays Tuesday.