FRILLS CORNERS - It's been a number of years since the Union High School girls' basketball team was a force in the Keystone Shortway Athletic Conference and District 9 but on Thursday night (Jan. 6), the Golden Damsels announced their return.
Visiting Union rallied from an eight-point second half deficit to top previously undefeated North Clarion 48-44 in a KSAC Small School clash.
"This win is huge," Union head coach Allyson Kepple said. "We knew what kind of a game it was going to be coming in. The girls on both teams came out to play tonight. I felt both teams did a great job."
A layup by Keira Croyle off an assist by Dominika Logue with 1:15 in regulation gave Union a lead the Golden Damsels wouldn't relinquish.
Croyle's basket was the middle tally in a closing 6-0 run by the Golden Damsels which included a pull-up jumper from Hailey Kriebel at the 2:57 mark which got Union to within two points. North Clarion was forced to foul Vogle with 16.4 seconds left in regulation and Vogle drained both free throws to give Union a four-point cushion it would never surrender.
Kepple was thrilled with her team's play the entire night especially down the stretch.
"I think we are doing a great job of playing together and doing their part.," Kepple said.
Foul trouble plagued the Wolves the entire night with starting guard Amya Green sitting most of the first half when she picked up two quick fouls in the first two minutes of the first quarter while starting forward Gwen Siegel fouled out of the game with 4:04 remaining in regulation.
"The (foul trouble) took us a little bit out of our offense but we have other girls who can step up and take (Siegel and Green's) place," North Clarion head coach Terry Dreihaup said. "We talked about dumb fouls. We just have to play cleaner."
North Clarion opened the season with seven-straight wins and this was the first regular season loss for the Wolves since Jan. 20, 2017.
This is Union's sixth-straight win after a season-opening loss to Elk County Catholic.
Union (6-1 overall, 4-0 KSAC Small School) had three players score in double-digits led by Kriebel's 15 points. Croyle and Logue followed with 13 points each.
The Wolves (7-1, 3-1) bolted out to a 4-1 lead in the first two minutes of play with Siegel and Gwen Siegel each recording a basket. Siegel scored off the opening tip depositing a layup off a pass from Kriebel while Kriebel took a pass from Emma McFarland and buried a layup.
Hailey Kriebel answered for the Golden Damsels with a 3-pointer off of an assist by Vogle.
North Clarion responded with a 5-0 outburst as Siegel bucketed a layup while Claire Kriebel swished a 3-pointer. The Wolves skein gave them a 9-4 lead with just under five minutes remaining in the quarter.
The Golden Damsels closed the quarter with a 6-1 run. Hailey Theuret recorded a baseline jumper at the 10 second mark of the period to give Union a 13-12 lead.
Vogle and Croyle each had a layup on the run.
A key to Union's closing run was its defensive effort in the full-court press as Hailey Kriebel had three steals in the frame while Croyle made two thefts.
The North Clarion defense was opportunistic as well with Emma McFarland making four steals in the frame. Emma McFarland had seven steals in the game.
The Golden Damsels pushed their lead to 18-16 at the 6:40 mark when Logue rattled home a 3-pointer. Union pushed its lead to three points later in the frame with Logue burying a pair of free throws at the five minute mark. After a scoreless first quarter, Logue posted five points in the second frame.
On the Wolves next trip, Emma McFarland took a pass from Madison McFarland and buried a 3-pointer from the top of the key to tie the game at 20-20 with 4:29 remaining in the half.
Emma McFarland drained three 3-pointers on the way to nine points while also dishing off five assists.
Hailey Kriebel drove through the North Clarion defense for a basket to give Union a 22-20 lead.
Madison McFarland deposited a midrange jumper off an assist from Melissa Bauer with a little over two minutes to go tying the score at 22-22.
Neither team could get bucket the final couple of minutes of the half as the score stayed at 22-22.
The teams traded baskets in the opening three minutes of the third quarter with Croyle and Logue depositing layups for the Golden Damsels while Siegel posted a layup and Emma McFarland drained a 3-pointer.
Siegel was the Wolves leading scorer with 11 points plus she had 10 rebounds to complete the double-double.
Later in the period, North Clarion went on an 8-0 run to take a 35-27 lead with 3:05 left in the frame.
Old-fashioned 3-pointers from Siegel and Madison McFarland fueled the North Clarion skein. Siegel opened the splurge by taking a pass from Emma McFarland and baking home a layup while being fouled. Siegel drained the free throw giving the Wolves a three-point lead. After a turnover by the Golden Damsels, Bauer took a pass from Madison McFarland and connected on a mid-range jumper to push the North Clarion lead to five points.
Following an empty Union possession, Claire Kriebel fired a pass into Madison McFarland and McFarland rattled home a layup while being fouled. McFarland drained the free throw completing the traditional three-point play extending the Wolves' lead to 35-27 with 3:05 left in the quarter.
Croyle was fouled on Union's next trip and she made 1-of-2 from the line to trim the North Clarion lead to seven points.
On North Clarion's following trip, Emma McFarland threw a pass to Lauren Lutz in the low post and Lutz banked in a layup.
Lutz saw significant time on the court due to Siegel's foul problems. Lutz finished with six points, three rebounds and a block.
With 50 seconds remaining in the quarter, Hailey Kriebel sliced her way to the hoop for a layup trimming the North Clarion lead to 37-30.
Kriebel's bucket seemed to spark a Union rally as the Golden Damsels opened the third quarter with a 7-0 run in the first 1:24 to tie the game at 37-37.
Croyle took a pass from Logue and deposited a layup followed by a 3-pointer from Logue. Croyle found a hole in the North Clarion zone on the next Golden Damsels' trip and drained a pull-up jumper from the elbow.
Madison McFarland was fouled on the following North Clarion drive and the Wolves were in the bonus. McFarland sank both ends of the 1-and-1 to give the Wolves a 39-37 lead.
After a Union turnover, Green drove toward the hoop and fired a pass to Emma McFarland in the corner. McFarland drained a 3-pointer to extend the North Clarion lead to 42-37 4:29 left in regulation.
Logue answered with a 3-pointer trimming the North Clarion lead back to two points.
The Wolves' Kriebel missed a shot on the following North Clarion possession. Union's Kriebel pulled down the rebound and Siegel went over the back and made contact to pick up her fifth foul. Kriebel made both free throws to tie the score at 42-42 with 4:04 left in the contest.
Bauer canned a mid-range jumper on the following North Clarion possession to put the Wolves ahead 44-42 with 3:11 remaining.
Union's Kriebel tied the game back up 12 seconds later with a driving layup.
On two consecutive trips, North Clarion got the ball into Lutz in the low post and Lutz was being guarded by Logue and Logue had four fouls. Lutz attempted to back down Logue to get a layup attempt two times in a row but Logue didn't budge and both of Lutz's attempts glanced off the rim.
"These girls have been so disciplined and we told her to be smart and she said, yeah, I won't get (my fifth foul),'" Kepple said referring to Logue. "I thought she did a great job staying disciplined. Our guards also helped her out as they collapsed to cover (Lutz) when she got the ball in the paint."
With 1:15 left in regulation, Logue bounced a pass into Croyle in the post. Croyle banked home the layup putting the Golden Damsels ahead 46-44.
Lutz attempted a 17-footer on the following North Clarion possession and the Golden Damsels came down with the board.
The Wolves were forced to foul Vogle with 16.4 seconds to play. Vogle made both free throws extending the Union lead to four points.
The Wolves couldn't get a late basket and Union secured the 48-44 win.
"Hat's off to Union because they played us tough tonight," Dreihaup said.
Union was back in action last night (Jan. 10) at Karns City. The Golden Damsels go on the road to play Moniteau tomorrow.
"From here on out, we're playing almost every other day," Kepple said. "We have to enjoy the moment but the next day, we have to get (ready for our next opponent.)
The Wolves are back in action Wednesday at Keystone.
"I just think we need to keep doing what we're doing," Dreihaup said referring to what his team has to do after the loss. "We're just having tough time getting the ball in the hoop and we're making too many turnovers. If they keep pushing they are going to be back where they were."
UNION 48, NORTH CLARION 44
Score by Quarters
1 2 3 4 F
13 9 8 18 48
North Clarion 12 10 15 7 44
UNION (48): Hailey Theuret 1 1-4 3, Keira Croyle 6 1-2 13. Hailey Kriebel 5 3-5 15, Kennedy Vogle 1 2-2 4, 4 2-4 13, Abby Gruver 0 0-0 0. Totals: 13 9-17 48.
NORTH CLARION (44)Madison McFarland 2 3-3 7, Amya Green 0 0-2 0, Emma McFarland 3 0-0 9, Claire Kriebel 2 0-2 5, Gwen Siegel 4 3- 6, Maria Bauer 3 0-0 6, Emily Aites 0 0-0 0, Lauren Lutz 3 0-0 6 . Totals: 17 6-13 44.
Three-pointers: Union, Logue (3), Kriebel (2). North Clarion, Emma McFarland (3), Kriebel.
Rebounds: Union, Theuret 2, Croyle 4, Kriebel 5, Vogle 4, Logue 4, Team 8. North Clarion, Madison McFarland 2, Green 4, Emma McFarland 3, Kriebel 2, Siegel 10, Bauer 2, Aites 2, Lutz 3, Team 5.
Assists: Union, Kriebel 4, Vogle 4, Logue 4. North Clarion, Madison McFarland 3, Green 2, Emma McFarland 5, Kriebel 3, Bauer 1, Aites 1, Lutz 1.