RIMERSBURG – The inaugural Union Christmas tournament turned out fairly well for the Union boys and girls basketball squads, with both making it to their respective championship games on Friday. While the boys lost a two-point game to Reynolds, the Golden Damsels were able to close the tourney with a 41-36 comeback win over Cameron County last Friday night.
The Damsels, who opened with a 55-13 rout of Sheffield last Thursday, take a 6-2 record into this Friday’s KSAC-South game at home against Union. Next Monday, the Damsels visit Curwensville.
The game was not always in hand for the home squad however, as the Damsels at one point found themselves down 13 points midway through the third quarter. For Union Head Coach Allyson Kepple, the Damsels’ response to the deficit was the turning point.
“Our two losses, I thought we kind of gave up this season,” Kepple said. “So I told the girls, ‘Hey, we do not give up. I don’t want to see any pouting or head hanging. We’re in this game.’ Thirteen points, that’s a couple threes and you’re right back in it. I just told them, ‘This is our home tournament. We don’t want to lose.’”
It worked. The third quarter 28-15 Cameron County lead was vanquished by a 26-8 run by the Damsels the rest of the way.
Union freshman Dominika Logue was key for the Damsels throughout, shooting 6-for-12 and scoring two points from the line as well as leading the game in scoring with 14 total points, nine points coming in the final period.
Bryn Davis reached double digits in scoring for the game as well, putting up 11 points. Both Maggie Minnick and Marli Hawk scored five points, while Hailey Kriebel scored four points. Jada Zitman found the score sheet with two points of her own. Logue also came away with a double-double when the final horn sounded, pulling down 10 rebounds along with five steals. Kepple said it was more of the same from Logue in her performance.
“Overall, being 5 foot 10 and being our point guard is funny,” Kepple said. “Everybody says, ‘Wait, she’s a guard?’ She just handles the ball so well and I think everybody else kind of leans on her to get us into our offense. She does a great job of handling the pressure that the other teams give us, so we love that.”
The visiting Lady Red Raiders, now 6-2, used 10-point scoring efforts from Alyvia McKimm as well as Kaelee Bresslin to stay ahead for parts of the first and second halves.
The start of the fourth quarter saw Union close the third quarter gap to 11 at 33-22. A Logue jumper brought Cameron County within single digits with 6 minutes to go in the contest. A 6-0 run by the Damsels, including, a steal and finish at the other end by Logue brought the lead to three with 3:57 remaining, when the Raiders called a timeout.
The squads traded buckets, as Logue continued to take over. Two more steals led to four more points scored with less than three minutes remaining, as Logue scored again as well as finding Davis underneath the basket with 2 minutes remaining to give the Damsels a 38-36 lead, their first since late in the first quarter.
The Damsels entered the bonus and were fouled five times in the final 120 seconds, making three of their shots. Ultimately, the Damsels smothered the Raiders in the final frame, giving up just three points.
Kepple believes the home surroundings for the first Christmas tournament of its kind at Union was a welcome addition to her team.
“I told the girls, we have so many young players on our team, we have a home Christmas tournament,” Kepple said. “We don’t want to get knocked out of our own tournament from the beginning. We don’t want to take second. So just having that home atmosphere I think really helped us a lot there, especially at the end.”
In Thursday’s win over Sheffield, the Damsels raced to a 29-4 first-half lead and reached the Mercy Rule running clock in the second half, building a 49-9 lead after three quarters.
Logue finished with 14 points while Hawk had 10 points. Davis scored nine points.
In the other first-round game, Cameron County beat Clarion-Limestone, 63-44. C-L then beat Sheffield in Friday’s consolation game, 57-27.