Gregor, UL rally past Panthers

CONNORVILLE — The Union Local Lady Jets overcame a double-digit second half deficit to spoil Buckeye Local’s senior night and send the Lady Panthers to their 10th straight loss via a 53-47 score Wednesday evening, led by 19 points from Kiera Gregor.

A large part of the Lady Jets’ comeback was the offensive play of Gregor, especially in the third quarter.

“We went inside to Gregor some in the first half too, but she got two cheap fouls and she was in foul trouble, so I didn’t want to bring her back in and get her third one before the second half,” Union Local coach Rob Barr noted of Gregor’s emergence in the second half.

“Once we got her back in, she’s an inside offensive threat, and when people have to double her we need to do a better job of her finding the open shooter when that happens, but then we hit some shots. My seniors stepped up and hit some shots. Kiera is only a freshman. To take a game under her wing like that as a freshman, the future looks pretty bright. I was pleased in the second half, halftime wasn’t fun, but we got it done. It doesn’t make up for the loss to Bellaire, but it helps. We were clawing back the whole game and I’m proud of the girls.”

“We didn’t play as good of defense and we weren’t as good on the offensive side,” Buckeye Local head coach Tom Figurski stated of the team’s second-half struggles. “We put a couple of plays in to attack their half-court diamond, and the thing is that people went to positions they weren’t supposed to be in, and we got in trouble because of that, and we missed some shots. The thing is that that’s the key to the game right there. Down there (on Union Local’s end) I thought we rebounded really well all game and then there at the end when the game was tied, they get three shots off of offensive rebounds. I don’t think the first three quarters we gave up an offensive rebound to them, but that’s the story.”

The first quarter saw both teams struggle offensively, as the Lady Jets (11-9) got a mere three shots off in the first four minutes plus, while Buckeye (8-11), who started five seniors, netted five points on shots from Audrey Sebring and a conventional three-point play from Emily Holzopfel. UL answered back with a three-point play from Gregor and a bucket from Hannah Merritt After a three-pointer for UL from Sutherland Butler and a pair of baskets for the hosts, the first ended with the Panthers holding a 9-8 edge.

The Panthers opened the second strong with a three from Alaire Destifanes and a bucket from Megan Valuska, but the Jets answered on a pair of threes from Hannah Porter and Alison Loase, respectfully. It was at that point that Buckeye Local went on a 13-3 run over the final 4:42 of the half to take a commanding 27-17 lead into the break.

It was in the third that Gregor asserted herself as Union Local’s guards started dumping the ball down in the low post to the freshman who made many nice moves to outmaneuver defenders and open up some shots. On the other side of the ball, Buckeye struggled with five turnovers in the quarter and were held to a mere three field goals over the eight minutes frame. When the buzzer sounded to end the third, The Panthers were still holding a slim 38-33 lead.

After a shot by Holzopfel for the Panthers, the Jets got a bucket from Casey Kildow and a three from Loase. The Jets forced a turnover and saw Loase shoot a three that was off the mark, but she followed up and crashed the boards for a put back to tie the game at 40 at the 5:25 mark. Destifanes answered the bell for BL sinking a three-pointer, followed by a bucket from Holzopfel to build a five point lead, but the Panthers managed just one more bucket the remainder of the game. The Lady Jets, on the other hand, finished strong with another Loase three at 2:14 and buckets from Gregor, Butler and Porter to push the final score to 53-47.

Gregor?s 19 led all scorers, while Loase finished with 11 points and six boards. Holzopfel scored 17 to pace Buckeye and grabbed seven rebounds, aided by 16 from Destifanes.