STRATTANVILLE — When a team hasn’t been able to find the win column, it is hard to know how to act and react when it has a lead.
That was the case for the Clarion-Limestone Lady Lions, who bolted to a 17-5 lead after one quarter and even continued to lead 25-16 at the half before things unraveled in the second half, allowing Union to rally for a 44-38 victory Monday night.
The loss dropped the Lady Lions to 0-12 going into Wednesday’s game at A-C Valley. Friday and Saturday, they travel to Clarion and Moniteau respectively to finish out a four-game week.
The busy stretch actually extends into next week with games on Monday and Tuesday at home against Redbank Valley and Forest Area, finishing off a stretch of six games in eight days.
“I told the girls we have to go out and play like it is 0-0 and that we needed to go out and stay fired up in the second half,” said C-L head coach Gus Simpson, whose team has lost 20 straight dating back to its last win against Tidioute Charter on Jan. 23, 2017. “Union got a quick bucket and it was almost like that ‘Oh no, here we go again’ mentality. It took us awhile to snap out of it and when we did it was almost too late.”
In the third quarter the Golden Damsels started the quarter on a 10-0 run to take a 26-25 lead. A pair of free throws by Jess Ball put C-L ahead 27-26 with 2:42 to play in the quarter. However, that would be the only points C-L would score in the frame and Union finished with the final four points of the quarter to take a 29-27 lead after three.
“When they weren’t making shots in that third quarter it helped us to run the floor a bit more and not allow them to set up in their defense which gave us some trouble in the first half,” said Union head coach Ali Kepple. “It’s important as a team when you are able to come back and to have the girls show that they have that ability. That is a big boost to our team.”
Union began the fourth on a 5-0 run before a Madi Craig bucket cut the lead to 34-29 with 3:59 left. C-L would cut the lead to four at 37-33 on a Morgan Clark putback with 2:40 remaining. Union made 7 of 10 free throws the rest of the way while the Lady Lions could get no closer than four the last time coming at 39-35 on an Anna Kennemuth basket.
“Free throws are so important,” said Kepple. “I’ve seen so many close games that are won or lost because of whether you make or don’t make free throws. We work so hard on our foul shooting and it paid off tonight.”
Frankee Remmick led Union with 22 points while Hannah Atzeni added 11 points.
Morgan Clark led C-L with 20 points and 13 rebounds while Kennemuth added seven and Madi Craig added six.
“We had opportunities in the second half if we get a few breaks or get a few shots to fall,” said Simpson. “Union did a nice job on Morgan and pretty much taking her out of the equation in the second half.”
C-L led 17-5 after one quarter. Union cut the lead to five at 19-14 following a three-pointer from Remmick with 4:13 to play in the half. C-L would then close the half on a 6-2 run in taking the 25-16 halftime lead.
Clark scored 14 of her total in the first half for the Lady Lions.
The Lady Lions have lost four of their games by a total of 10 points — two one-point losses to Forest, a 46-44 loss at Union back on Jan. 10 and Monday’s six-pointer to the Damsels.
In last week’s games:
FRIDAY, Jan. 19
Moniteau 63, C-L 20
At home, the Lady Lions fell to Moniteau which was powered by a triple-double from Emma Bair of 12 points, 14 rebounds, and 10 blocked shots.
Izzy Bair posted a double-double of 14 points and 10 rebounds while Kristin Auvil recorded a game-high 15 points for Moniteau.
Maddy Craig hit a pair of 3-pointers in notching eight points to lead C-L while Anna Burns added four points and six rebounds.
C-L led 2-0 and 4-3, but after a 6-all tie Moniteau closed the quarter on a 10-3 run for a 16-9 lead after one.
Jess Ball connected on 1 of 2 free throws to start the second for the Lady Lions, but that would turn out to be the only point for C-L in the quarter as the Lady Warriors finished the quarter with an 11-0 run to expand their lead to 27-10 at halftime.
Moniteau blew the game open with a 14-0 run to start the third quarter before Abby Simpson ended the C-L scoring drought with a bucket at the 3:07 mark. Moniteau would then finish the quarter on a 7-2 run to take a 48-14 lead after three.
Moniteau then closed out the game with a 15-6 scoring advantage in the fourth to set the final score.
Moniteau used some hot shooting to record a 59-21 victory in the junior varsity contest.
Kaitee Chesonis led the Lady Warriors with 12 points while Ivie Scott added 10
Emma Smith led C-L with nine points.
TUESDAY, Jan. 16
Keystone 66, C-L 17
At Knox, the hosts routed the visiting Lady Lions as Taylor Geer scored 26 points to lead the way.
Morgan Clark and Anna Kennemuth were co-high scorers for the Lady Lions with four points apiece.