CAMBRIDGE - Drew Greenwood knew his Union Local girls' basketball team couldn't turn the ball over and get into a half-court game with West Muskingum.
Well, guess what?
That's exactly what the second-seeded Lady Jets (15-9) did here Saturday afternoon in dropping a 55-31 decision to the No. 4 Tornadoes (13-10) in a Division III co-sectional final inside the Gene Ford Gymnasium.
UNION LOCAL seniors Kayla Doty, left, and Carlee Stiles watch the remaining seconds of their last high school basketball game Saturday in Cambridge. The Lady Jets dropped a 55-31 decision to West Muskingum in a Division III co-sectional final at Gene Ford Gymnasium. Additional images can be found at cu.timesleaderonline.com
UL committed six of its 17 turnovers in the first eight minutes as it fell behind 16-7 to the Muskingum County quint. The red-clad designated visitors also failed on 14 of 20 shots from the floor.
"Coming into a game like this we knew we had to be mentally sharp and not be a charitable team and give them things that they could take advantage of, and we did that," Greenwood admitted.
"To go along with that, we took a lot of pressure from our offensive end and put it all on the defensive end," he continued. "We knew we didn't want to get stuck playing defense a whole lot today, and we were."
West Muskingum used a trio of baskets from 6-3 senior Dakota McKenzie and a pair of bonus bombs from senior guard Ali Hazen in grabbing the early lead it would never relinquish.
As bad as Union Local played in the first quarter, the second eight minutes weren't any better as it turned the ball over five more times and missed 10 of 13 shots from the floor as West Muskingum held a 24-13 advantage at the half.
The Tornadoes used a 11-0 run to start the third quarter to pull away for good. Cat-quick point guard Amisha Herd, a 5-3 junior, netted six points and Hazen knocked down two more treys.
Union Local wouldn't score until the 4:41 mark when Dallas Montag found the bottom of the bucket.
All but one of West Muskingum's starters reached double digits, led by McKenzie with 15. Hazen finished with 14, Herd a dozen and Meadows 10. Meadows, a 6-0 senior, also pulled down a game-best 10 rebounds.
Freshman Ali Delaney continued to sparkle for the Jets down the stretch. She had a team-high eight points and landed five rebounds in a reserve role. Junior Cori Medley ended with seven points and Montag had six points and a like number of boards. Abby Collins, another junior, pulled down six boards.
"Ali is going to be good basketball player," Greenwood noted. "She puts the time in and has learned a lot from experience this season to know what she needs to work on during the off-season."
The loss caps an outstanding career for three UL seniors - Montag, Kayla Doty and Carlee Stiles.
"These three seniors won a lot of games together," he added. "They were in some memorable situations and I just wish them the best. They put a lot into the program and they are successful individuals."
West Muskingum advances to District Tournament action next week against River View at Steubenville High School's Crimson Center.
UNION LOCAL (31) - Medley 2 3-3 7; Montag 3 0-0 6; Doty 2 0-0 4; Stiles 1 0-0 2; Collins 1 0-0 2; Delaney 3 0-0 8; Russell 0 2-2 2; Nagy 0 0-0 0; Rucker 0 0-0 0; Butler 0 0-0 0; Totals: 12-44 5-5. WEST MUSKINGUM (55) - Herd 6 0-1 12; Hazen 5 0-0 14; Lynn 1 0-0 2; Meadows 4 2-2 10; McKenzie 6 3-6 15; Lynch 1 0-0 2; Ware 0 0-0 0; Scott 0 0-0 0; Weingarth 0 0-0 0; Totals: 23-49 5-8.
Three-Point Goals: Union Local 2 (Delaney 2); West Muskingum 4 (Hazen 4)
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