Unity seniors come up big
TOLONO — In a girls' basketball game where Unity's top two scorers were juniors, it was two seniors who had significant baskets.
Visiting Sullivan put up the first 12 points in Monday night's Okaw Valley Conference game before Bailey Walden's three-pointer got Unity on the board at the Rocket Center.
"We have strengths on the offensive end," Unity coach Kelly Gallick said. "Once we scored the first basket, it relaxed everyone. Our kids have a lot of potential."
It wasn't until the final 2 1/2 minutes of the third quarter before Unity (2-4) took the lead for good. The final tie was broken on a rebound basket by Madie Herbert, which was part of a 9-0 Unity run that boosted the team's lead to 38-31. Unity prevailed 53-41.
"Madie got in some early foul trouble (two in the first quarter), but I knew it would be a different game in the second half because of how well Madie and McKenzie Martin go to the boards," Gallick said.
Martin cleared nine rebounds, matching the game-high total of teammate Kennedy Hartman. Herbert's six boards were part of the reason the Rockets held a 41-22 rebounding cushion.
"One shot and we were done," Sullivan coach Sheri Adams McCain said.
Hartman scored 10 of her game-high 18 points in the first half, helping the Rockets overcome their early deficit.
The key, Hartman said, when the scoreboard showed the visitors with a 12-0 lead was "we had to not get frustrated."
The comeback, she said, speaks well for the team's capabilities.
"We know we can get through anything," Hartman said.
The Rockets secured the win by sinking 12 of 14 free throws, including 5 of 5 by Joan Maxwell, who had 17 points.
"A point of emphasis," Gallick said, "is getting to the free throw line more than the other team. It's nice to see us finish a game. In the past, we've beaten teams for two of four quarters, but didn't always finish."
Paige Neuhauser, who hit two three-pointers during Sullivan's opening 12-0 run, led the Redskins with 13 points.
Katie Massey had seven rebounds.