MOUNT UNION - Talk about taking it to the deadline.
The Mount Union girls basketball team went into Thursday's game against rival Southern Huntingdon with a 9-9 record, all the while hoping to go above .500 in the last day before the cutoff for entry to the District 6 Class AA tournament.
As it turned out, Mount Union didn't just hold out until the last day - it held out until the last eight minutes.
Sentinel photo by MAT?STRICKER
Mount Union’s Gabby Morder, left, goes for a shot over Southern Huntingdon’s Morgan Sheeder.
Trailing 37-34 heading into the final stanza, the Rockets - who only have two wins on the season - were poised to pull off the upset, but ultimately succumbed, 60-40. A 19-point quarter by Tynita White was a major factor in the final 20-point spread.
"It's exciting. I'm nervous, but we'll just roll with it," Mount Union coach Jenny Cunningham said of the team's first trip to the district tournament since she took the helm.
In terms of "rolling with it," that's exactly what the Trojans did in the final stanza as they took advantage of White's hot streak. Overall the junior scored a game-high 32 points, and in the fourth she made it look easy as she hit five from short range, a 3-pointer and went 6-for-6 from the line to spark her team past Southern Huntingdon.
IF YOU GO
Mount Union hosts Williamsburg today
"She is definitely our go-to person. I tell them, 'When she's on fire, give her the ball,'" Cunningham explained.
"Ashley (Foor) also played a great game," Cunningham continued. "They were the people I wanted the ball to. Our guards were making good passes to them."
Foor finished the game with 14 points, and was key with some clutch threes early in the game when the Trojans' offense was struggling. Most notably, Foor hit the first two of three consecutive treys by the Trojans - Gabby Morder came in with the third - to lead a nine-point streak in the middle of the second before heading to the locker room with a 28-25 lead.
Prior to that, Mount Union notched 12 points in the first quarter, but a porous defense allowed Southern Huntingdon to go for 13, three of which came from beyond the arc.
"We had some better motivation in the second half to overall just play better. Man worked better for us tonight than zone, which is the total opposite of what the past few games were, so whatever works we just go with," Cunningham said.
Southern Huntingdon scored 25 points in the first half, while it only managed 15 in the second half, so Mount Union's switch to man defense was well advised. In fact, in the third quarter outside shooters Larissa Leonard and Anna Goshorn's outside games were completely stopped by Mount Union's guards, and in the paint White and Aaliyah Gilbert-Walker held Rocket center Kendra Donelson to just two points.
With the win Mount Union moves to 10-9 overall and 7-5 in the ICC. The Trojans will host Williamsburg today for the first of their final two regular season games.