CAMBRIDGE - It could have been a wildly delirious bus ride home for Drew Greenwood and his Union Local ball club.
Instead, it will be an off-season of what might have been for the heartbroken Lady Jets.
On the verge of knocking off a heavily-favored Fort Frye opponent, UL was unable to finish the job.
UNION LOCAL players show their emotion as their Division III sectional final came to an end Friday night. From left are Dallas Montag, Carlee Stiles and Kayla Doty. The Lady Jets were upended, 36-30 by Fort Frye. Additional images may be found at cu.timesleaderonline.com
Involved in a 30-30 deadlock in the final minute, coach Dan Liedtke's Cadets first forced a game-changing turnover, then scored the final six points to secure a tense 36-30 D-III, Sectional co-final Friday night victory before a nice turnout in the Gene Ford Gymnasium.
"From the very beginning, I felt this game would be a challenge," Liedtke related. "That was just a great coaching job by Drew. He definitely has his program on the rise."
So much so, Greenwood's Jets mounted a 28-23 upperhand after three periods and appeared headed for a prized upset decision.
Fort Frye, however, came on strong, outpointing UL 13-2 over the final eight minutes to avert defeat.
"I told the girls they had to turn it up (defensively) and we were fortunate to cause some big turnovers," Liedtke advised.
Union Local, after protecting the ball reasonably well for three periods, came undone down the stretch. The Belmont County club coughed it up on five occasions with the game on the line.
"We did some strange things totally uncharacteristic of us," a dejected Greenwood said. "It's even more frustrating considering I felt we had Fort Frye right where we wanted them."
In the final six minutes and with little margin for error, Cadets' senior Sami Hanson scored in close for a 28-25 lighting. Following a UL giveaway, junior Morgan Liedtke made her only field goal of the evening a money ball.
Liedtke took a pass on the left wing and buried a game-tying trifecta for a 28-28 lockup.
When UL couldn't answer, Hanson accounted for a go-ahead two-pointer and a 30-28 FF edge.
Lady Jets' junior Cori Medley retaliated with a baseline connection at 2:50 for a final tie but UL would not score again.
Greenwood's quint eventually recorded a steal and had possession with 67 seconds to play.
Inbounder Dallas Montag attempted a high backcourt lob for Medley which FF's Diedre Combs picked off and seconds later converted a go-ahead bucket at 0:51. "We had no timeouts left, there. I wish I could have taken one back," Greenwood declared.
When UL committed another damaging turnover, the Jets were in dire straits having committed but two personal fouls.
After taking a foul, UL's Kayla Doty was assessed a technical for making contact with the ball before it could be inbounded.
Fort Frye's 5-11 Taylor Buchanan swished both ensuing foul shots, then duplicated the feat seconds later and it was over.
Buchanan netted a game-leading 15 points for the 20-2 Cadets who face Tusky Valley in a Tuesday (7:00) district matchup at Steubenville. Combs and junior Micayla Hupp hooped six points apiece.
UL received nine points each from Doty and Montag. Medley contributed seven. All three return next season.
"We lose (senior) Alexus Davis, one of the hardest workers I've ever coached," Greenwood praised.
Fort Frye shot 14-of-33 from the field compared to UL's 11-of-26 output. The Cadets were charted for nine turnovers.
FORT FRYE (36) - Parsons 1, 0-0 2; Liedke, M, 1, 0-0 3; Hanson 2, 0-1 4; Hupp 3, 0-0 6; Combs 3, 0-0 6;Buchanan 4, 6-6 15. Totals - 14, 6-7. UNION LOCAL (30) - Swallie 0, 0-0 0; Stiles 0, 0-0 0; Davis 1, 3-4 5; Medley 3, 0-0 7; Montag 3, 0-0 9;Doty 4, 1-1 9. Totals - 11, 4-5.
Three-point goals. Fort Frye - Buchanan, M. Liedtke. Union Local - Montag (3), Medley.
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