MONESSEN — The Union girls outscored Monessen, 17-8, over the final 12 minutes of the game Thursday night to return home to New Castle with a 39-24 victory in the first round of the WPIAL Class A playoffs.
The Lady Scots (10-10) advance to the quarterfinals Monday against section foe Eden Christian. The third-seeded Lady Warriors (10-6) won both section contests, 59-31 at home and 43-36 at Union.
Monessen closes out the season with an overall record of 9-12.
The score was 22-16 with 3:49 remaining in the third quarter when the Lady Greyhounds’ Sydney Caterino was fouled by the Lady Scots’ Kayla Fruehstorfer as she drove to the basket.
Caterino adversely reacted to the foul and was charged with a technical, giving her a fourth personal foul. Caterino made one of the two free throws.
Fruehstorfer hit both free throws for a 24-17 lead.
“Sydney is our floor leader. You take the floor leader out of the game, she’s our general,” Monessen coach Janine Vertacnik said of Caterino.
Union finished the quarter on a 6-0 run, capped with Kendall Preuhs’ putback with eight seconds left, for a 30-17 lead entering the fourth quarter.
The Lady Scots closed out the long-distance victory with a 9-7 advantage in the fourth quarter.
Union grabbed the lead in the first quarter and maintained the advantage from that point on.
The Lady Scots led 13-9 after the first quarter and 20-14 at halftime.
“We were outplayed. No. 1, we were outrebounded,” said Vertacnik. “We were just out of sync. I don’t know if we were too hyped.”
Union packed in a zone defense throughout the game, closing down driving lanes and forcing the Lady Greyhounds to shoot from outside and take contested shots in the lane.
Neither team shot particularly well, so hitting the boards was key in controlling the game. The Lady Greyhounds were missing freshman forward MyAsia Majors (5-7), who was out with an injury.
Monessen relies on rebounding to get into its transition game.
“It was just two bad shooting teams. Rebounding is the key to a bad shooting team,” said Vertacnik. “Transition is key to our scoring.”
Both Monessen and Union are young squads with only one senior each.
“I feel they wanted it more,” said Vertacnik. “They went after the loose balls.”
Both teams had their small benches taxed with foul trouble. Union and Monessen both had five girls with at least three fouls.
The Lady Scots made the most of their chances from the foul line, hitting on 17-of-25 free throws. Monessen made only 8-of-22 shots from the line.
Mercedes Majors led Monessen with eight points.
Union’s Elise Booker scored a game-high 14 points. Preuhs, daughter of Marney (Steich) Preuhs, a 1991 Geibel Catholic graduate, had a solid game for the Lady Scots with five points, 14 rebounds, an assist and two steals.