CAMBRIDGE - Survive to play another day.
That's exactly what second-seeded Union Local did inside the Gene Ford Gymnasium at Cambridge High School Tuesday night.
The Lady Jets (15-8) fought through a sluggish three quarters before turning up the defensive tenacity, which got their offense going and eventually led to a 46-34 victory against Monroe Central, which finishes its campaign with a 15-9 record.
MONROE CENTRAL’S Melanie Stimpert (14) dribbles the ball up the court Tuesday night while Union Local’s Dallas Montag (13) applies the defensive pressure during Division III?sectional tournament action in Cambridge. The Jets prevailed. Additional images may be found at cu.timesleader-online.com
MONROE CENTRAL’S Elizabeth Robey, left, and Union Local’s Ali Delaney battle for possession of a loose ball Tuesday night in Cambridge. Additional images can be found at cu.timesleaderonline.com
"Slow starts are hard to explain sometimes," said Union Local head coach Drew Greenwood.
The win snapped a two-game skid for the Lady Jets, who lost both of their OVAC Tournament games a few weeks ago. They'll return to Guernsey County on Saturday at 1 p.m. for the lower bracket sectional final against West Muskingum, which bounced St. Clairsville in the opener.
"West M. does some nice things and it's definitely going to take an 'A' effort if we're going to advance," Greenwood said. "They've got a nice post player and a really nice guard."
The Lady Jets and Lady Seminoles, which both struggled mightily on offense for three quarters, headed to the final chapter deadlocked at 27.
Union Local, however, scored the first 12 points of the period and held the Lady Seminoles scoreless until there was just 1:29 to go in the contest.
"It took us a lot longer than we wanted, but we finally showed signs of playing defense the way we want to play it," Greenwood said. "It felt good to see it come together."
During that stretch, hard-working senior post Kayla Doty came up big.
She scored half of her 10 points in the fourth, including her only trey of the game from the right wing, which stretched the margin to seven.
Junior standout Cori Medley, who was saddled with three fouls in the first half, also came up big with a bucket off a well-executed play in the half-court.
"I thought we executed well down the stretch," Greenwood said. "We made shots and we took care of the basketball."
Monroe Central's drought came to an end when Anne LaFollette cashed in a rebound goal, but the Lady Seminoles never got any closer because UL shot a sharp 10-of-11 from the line in the fourth quarter.
"We missed some shots from close range," said Monroe Central head coach Troy Baker. "We just couldn't finish when we needed to and (Union Local) knocked down a couple of big shots, including a three that just took the wind out of our sails. They made the run when they needed to and we missed some good looks."
While Doty led all scorers with 20, she turned in yeoman's work on the defensive end against Monroe Central standout Chelsie Roberts. Roberts struggled to find the range and closed with just two field goals.
"Chelsie Roberts is a very good player," Greenwood said. "Kayla Doty knew that was a big-time assignment coming into the game and she stepped up."
The other half of the Lady Seminoles' Chelsie duo, Chelsie Tewanger, led the Lady Seminoles with 16 points.
"Give Union Local credit because their defense was good, which had a lot to do with how we struggled, but we did have some good looks," Baker offered. "This was a great group of seniors and kids who worked their butts off all year long, which makes this hurt even more."
Doty was complemented in the scoring column by Medley's 12 and senior Dallas Montag, who put forth 10. Freshman Alli Delaney provided strong minutes off the bench, especially when Medley was on the pine with foul trouble.
The Lady Jets were charted for 18 turnovers, which was two more than the Lady Seminoles. Doty completed the double-double with 11 boards. Roberts yanked down nine stray shots and had four steals.
MONROE CENTRAL (34) - Haslam 1, 0-2 2; LaFollette 2, 0-0 4; Ball 1, 0-0 2; Tewanger 5, 5-5 16; Stimpert 0, 1-2 1; Robey 1, 0-0 2; Roberts 2, 0-2 4; Digity 1, 0-0 3; Dimmerling 0, 0-0 0; Miller 0, 0-0 0; Baker 0, 0-0 0; Marley 0, 0-0 0; Totals: 13, 6-11 34. UNION LOCAL (46) - Montag 2, 5-6 10; Medley 4, 2-2 12; Butler 0, 0-0 0; Collins 0, 0-0 0; Stiles 0, 0-0 0; Delaney 2, 0-0 4; Russell 0, 0-1 0; Doty 7, 5-5 20; Totals: 15, 12-14 46.
Three-Point Goals: MC - Digity, Tewanger. UL - Medley (2), Montag, Doty.
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