By Carl Holcomb
East Hardy was down by two points with under five minutes remaining, but wasn’t able to shake off the icicles on the rim as the Lady Tigers froze the court with a 60-48 triumph last Tuesday at Mt. Storm.
“We tried to switch up defenses, so she [Colleena Burdock] wouldn’t get comfortable,” East Hardy Coach Bridget Billmeyer remarked.
“She is a smart player, so she adjusts and we knew we had to make changes occasionally. We played triangle and two, diamond and one, and saggy man. We held to what she normally gets, but it was the kids that normally don’t make shots is what killed us tonight. We had seven turnovers and shot 80 percent from the free throw line, everything we did good and improved on tonight and still didn’t win the game. They had shots that fell and we didn’t. We let them get four offensive rebounds in a row and scored, if we shut them down there it could have been a different outcome.”
[private] A pair of free throws by Brooke Miller pulled the Lady Cougars to within two points at the 4:55 mark, then Union’s Colleena Burdock made two foul shots on the next possession.
The Lady Cougars kept possession alive with rebounds by Lexi Strawderman and Leanna Basye with Basye drawing a foul and adding two free throws at 4:19 and that would be the closest for the rest of the game.
A rebound by Union’s Angel Mann with a foul made created one free throw, then Allison Hartman stole the ball and missed with Mann snatching the board.
Burdock received the pass and worked around for a jumper with 2:59 to go as the Lady Tigers went up 50-45.
“One of the biggest differences was everyone stepped up tonight, where the last couple times it has been a one-sided game. Everybody on our team stepped up and played their hearts out. I can’t be prouder. They weren’t afraid to shoot the ball. East Hardy always plays us tough, especially up here,” Union Coach Alex Stapleton noted.
Lexi Shirk grabbed a defensive rebound and was fouled, but couldn’t connect on the shots and Mann collected the rebound and a potential block by Miller turned into a foul with both free throws made.
East Hardy’s Julia Hahn drew a foul as Shirk fouled out of the game with 2:08 remaining, but didn’t make the free opportunities.
Miller forced a jump ball, then Abigail Wilson nailed a jumper as the Lady Cougars made it a two possession game with 1:59 left.
Burdock dashed to the basket in just 10 seconds to boost the lead for Union.
Burdock made a defensive rebound and was fouled, then added both free throws.
Basye drew a foul and made one of two foul shots with 1:15 to go, down 56-48.
Burdock netted another basket in seven seconds to push the lead up to double digits.
Wilson almost made a save after a missed basket, but Union took over and stalled possession after breaking the press.
Union was back at the line with Burdock making one free throw with 42 seconds left and Basye getting the rebound, but the ensuing attempt went awry and Burdock got the rebound.
Burdock went back to make one additional free throw with 17 seconds remaining and Wilson recovered the rebound.
The Lady Cougars missed four final attempts with rebounds by Hahn and Basye, but Burdock snatched the last rebound to secure the 60-48 Union victory.
Burdock scored a game-high 34 points for the Lady Tigers.
East Hardy was paced by Miller with 16 markers, followed by Wilson with a dozen, and Hahn contributed 11.
East Hardy started the game with a triangle and two defense which provided havoc against Burdock with Union failing to make a basket for about two and a half minutes.
Miller grabbed the rebound off the opening miss, then Strawderman got the next rebound and passed to Miller, who slipped and Wilson recovered the ball and passed back to Miller for the basket at 7:01.
The Lady Tigers missed three shots and East Hardy missed one over the next minute before Wilson scored to put the Lady Cougars up 4-nil at 6:09.
Miller blocked a shot, then Strawderman stole the ball, but the ensuing shot went awry and Miller lost the Lady Cougars lost the ball to Hartman with a pass to Burdock for a bucket at 5:36.
East Hardy answered with a basket by Strawderman moments later.
Allison Collette scored for the Lady Tigers with 4:59 left in the first period and East Hardy up 6-4.
Both teams missed shots with rebounds by Miller and Burdock leading to a game tying shot at 4:04.
Basye grabbed an offensive rebound, then Burdock deflected the pass out of bounds and the next attempt went out of bounds.
The Lady Tigers lost the ball out of bounds, but Burdock blocked a shot and Hahn recovered it to score at 2:42.
Mann hit a 3-pointer to give Union the lead 9-8 at 2:23, then stole the ball and fed Shirk for a field goal.
Burdock stole the ball twice and scored both times as the Lady Tigers pounced to a 15-8 advantage with 1:02 left in the first period.
Hahn added two free throws for the Lady Cougars with 41 seconds left, then Mann answered with a jumper.
The last shot of the frame went off the rim for East Hardy and Shirk grabbed the rebound, 17-10.
Both teams bricked shot attempts thrice in the opening two and a half minutes for the second period, then a steal by Hahn finished with a layup at 5:32 for the Lady Cougars.
Miller grabbed a rebound, but Burdock stole the ball and the ensuing shot missed and Basye snatched the rebound.
Miller drew a foul and made both free throws, then Emma Baker stole the ball and Miller was sent back to the line for two more shots to pull within one, 17-16 at 4:10.
Union wouldn’t relinquish the lead as Burdock nailed a jumper, then a layup by Strawderman had East Hardy down by one again.
Union outscored the Lady Cougars 8-4 in the final two minutes of the first half for a 27-22 edge.
Mann netted one field goal off an assist from Burdock, who also added two field goals.
East Hardy got baskets by Miller and Hahn in the last minute and change.
Shirk opened the second half with a jumper for the Lady Tigers, then a shot attempt fell short and Burdock took the ball down the court for a basket.
A jump ball went to East Hardy, then Hahn assisted Miller on a field goal.
Miller grabbed a defensive rebound and passed to Hahn, who worked around the perimeter to find an opening for a shot, 31-26 at 6:22.
Burdock had a lucky roll into the hoop on the next possession, then Mann stole the ball and assisted Collette on a basket.
Hartman put Union ahead 37-26 with 4:28 remaining in the third period, but Wilson scored on the following series for the Lady Cougars.
Both teams missed some shots, while Miller and Wilson grabbed a pair of rebounds before Hahn drew foul which created one point and Miller got another rebound.
Wilson and Baker grabbed offensive boards, then Baker was sent to the line and made both free throws to make it a two possession contest 37-31 at 3:06.
Union increased the lead on a jumper by Mann, but East Hardy answered on a shot by Miller.
Wilson snatched a defensive rebound and scored on the ensuing play, 39-35 at 2:01.
A minute later, Wilson would score again to cut the deficit to two points.
Burdock responded with a jumper a dozen seconds after that basket.
Shirk got a defensive rebound, then Miller stole the ball and missed with Mann collecting the carom leading to Burdock’s two free throws, 43-37.
Hartman stole the ball and the last shot went awry to close the quarter.
Both teams missed four shot attempts apiece in the opening two minutes of the final stanza.
Miller managed to add two free throws at 7:22 and had several rebounds during that stretch.
Wilson put the Lady Cougars within two points at 5:48, but Union managed to stay ahead for the rest of the game.
East Hardy hosts Paw Paw tonight and visits Tug Valley on Saturday for the West Virginia Hometown Invitational Tournament.[/private]