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Class 2A Regional Basketball Warriors overcome Pioneers

Balanced inside-outside play leads to victory

February 20, 2018
David Swartz - Managing Editor ( , Estherville News

Three of the past five years, the North Union and Okoboji girls have met in the postseason.

Two years ago (2016), Okoboji ousted the Warriors, 54-50. Four years ago (2014), the Pioneers won 61-50.

On Friday in Estherville, the Warriors earned a measure of revenge with a 63-45 victory over the Pioneers.

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Okoboji had the hot hand early building a 10-5 lead with all of the Warriors' points coming on free throws. However Kate Anderson's 3-pointer with 3:10 left in the first quarter seemed to spark the Warriors. A minute and half later, Rory McClellan's 3-pointer gave North Union a 13-12 lead. Okoboji had an immediate answer with a 3-pointer, but Bre Anderson came back with her first 3-pointer. A basket by Hallie Reese to end the period gave the Warriors an 18-15 advantage. North Union would never trail again.

North Union continued to work the ball in the second quarter as the Pioneers cooled off. Samantha Hagedorn hit two 3-pointers in the period with her second one giving the Warriors a 33-25 lead at the break.

Okoboji kept fighting in the third quarter, but got no closer than six points, 39-33, with 3:30 left in the game.

The Warriors, who had planned a man-to-man defense throughout the first half, went to a 2-3 zone, which seemed to trouble the Pioneers at times.

The Warriors got inside for their last six baskets of the game with Chloe Lofstrom hitting a short jumper and Hallie Reese scoring two baskets to push the lead to 45-33.

"I thought our post play was strong," said North Union coach Merle Tigges. "Our guards stepped up as the game went on and got better the longer we played.

North Union took its time most of the fourth quarter and with Okoboji forced to foul, the Warriors made most of their free throws in the final two minutes. Okoboji's last gasp came with a 3-pointer with 2 minutes remaining that cut the deficit to 10, 53-43. However, Hagedorn, Bre Anderson and Reese combined for six-straight free throws to lead 59-45 before the reserves closed out the game.

The Warriors (20-2 overall) will face Western Christian for the second straight year. In 2017, Western Christian dominated the Warriors 74-46 in a regional semifinal on the way to the 2A title for the Wolfpack.

This year, fourth-ranked Western Christian and ninth-ranked North Union met in the regional final in Hartley on Monday with the winner earning a trip to Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines.



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