Morning Sun
  • Northeast boys clinch league share

  • Both Northeast and Uniontown came into Friday’s game undefeated in league play, with a share of the Three Rivers League on the line.

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  • Both Northeast and Uniontown came into Friday’s game undefeated in league play, with a share of the Three Rivers League on the line.
    Northeast celebrated Homecoming at halftime of the boys game, and in the second half found their rhythm, giving the team and its fans reason to celebrate a 43-31 victory and a share of the Three Rivers title.
    “We made adjustments in how we wanted to guard the high-low,” said Northeast boys head coach Matt Hiatt. “The kids did a great job making it harder for them to get it in to [Brenton] Esslinger.”
    A few seemingly unimportant baskets in the back-and-forth second quarter helped spark a strong second half performance for the Vikings.
    The first field goal of the second quarter, on an assist from Northeast’s J.T. Richardson to Noah Popejoy, gave the Vikings their first lead after trailing by five points early in the game.
    The teams would trade buckets throughout the second quarter until the Vikings ended up with the last shot of the half down 18-17. Jon Baker found Chase Cleland as the clock expired to give the Vikings a 19-18 halftime lead.
    “I think we guarded well, and that got us back into it. We struggled offensively, though,” Hiatt said. “We had the huge play at the end of the first half, and that turned it around. To go into halftime with a little momentum and a little lead when we weren’t playing well was huge.”
    What was even more huge was the play from Chase Cleland in the second half. Cleland scored nine of the team’s 13 points in the third quarter, and ended the game with 18 points.
    In that third quarter, Northeast opened on a 13-4 run, including a steal and score play to cap off the run.
    “He tried to do too much in the first half, creating things that weren’t there,” Hiatt said. “At halftime, I told everyone to slow down. In the first half, we made one or two extra passes, trying to create something to happen. We did a much better job moving side-to-side in the second half, and we were able to find Chase after that.”
    After Uniontown closed to within four points early in the fourth quarter, Northeast went on an 8-0 run that put the game away.
    The win puts Northeast in the driver’s seat for both league and substate. In the Three Rivers League, the Vikings (15-4, 8-0 TRL) have clinched a share of the league title, and can win the title outright by beating Altoona-Midway at home on Tuesday. Altoona-Midway is winless in the TRL.
    “This is a big game for substate,” Hiatt said. “We both had four losses, and it had conference implications and substate implications. The team with five losses was probably going to be the four seed, and play a good Oswego team in the five seed.”
    Page 2 of 2 - Uniontown girls 48, Northeast 27
    The Northeast girls basketball team knew that Hope Jurgensen and Jacy Ermel were the two players to look out for on Uniontown’s team. But knowing, as they say, is only half the battle.
    Jurgensen and Ermel would combine for all but two of the Eagles’ points in a strong third quarter that spread the lead beyond dougle digits. The Eagles outscored Northeast 14-4 in the quarter, with Jurgensen and Ermel each scoring six points. Jurgensen would end the game with 14 points and Ermel would finish with 11.
    “We did pretty good defensively,” said Northeast girls head coach Lori Murphy. “We knew 24 [Jurgensen] and 20 [Ermel] would be good. We held them below their season averages, I think. We did a good job fronting the post. Offensively, we were getting good shots, they just were not going down.”
    At times, it seemed as if the homecourt advantage was working against Northeast, as the girls often had open looks or uncontested shots, and the ball would bounce off the rim.
    “When we are on, we can’t miss,” Murphy said. “When we are off, it is hard for us to get anything going. We had wide open shots, we had fast breaks, and we just couldn’t hit shots.”
    After falling behind 8-2 early and 16-7 after the first quarter, the Vikings tried to make a comeback, narrowing the lead to 18-13 behind five points from Jessica Choate in the second quarter. But Uniontown answered, not behind Jurgensen or Ermel, but behind Taylor Shook. Shook hit a bucket to end the attempted run by the Vikings, and then hit a three that gave the Eagles an eight-point lead that would not be erased.
    Northeast (7-12, 3-5 TRL) will play at home on Senior Night against Altoona-Midway on Tuesday.
    Northeast boys 43, Uniontown 31
    UHS 8 10 8 5 — 31
    NE 7 12 13 11 — 43
    UNIONTOWN (31) — Seth Sympson 4 1-1 9, Brenton Esslinger 3 1-2 7, Zach Travis 3 0-0 7, Dakota Wiley 1 2-2 4, Robert Kuns 2 0-0 4, Domonic Robinson 0 0-2 0. Totals: 12 4-7 31.
    NORTHEAST (43) — Chase Cleland 8 2-4 18, Jon Baker 3 2-3 8, Noah Popejoy 3 0-0 6, J.T. Richardson 1 3-4 5, Cody McCloud 2 0-0 4. Cole Robinson 0 2-2 2. Totals: 17 9-13 43.
    Uniontown girls 48, Northeast 27
    UHS 16 12 14 6 — 48
    NE 7 11 4 5 — 27
    UNIONTOWN (48) — Hope Jurgensen 6 2-2 14, Jacy Ermel 5 1-2 11, Taylor Shook 3 0-0 7, Hayden Rathbun 2 0-2 4, Lakyn Coyan 2 0-0 4, DaNisha Robinson 2 0-0 4, Abby Dixon 1 0-0 2. Totals: 21 3-6 48.
    NORTHEAST (27) — Kaylee Bogina 5 1-3 13, Jazmin Nunn 2 2-2 6, Jessica Choate 1 4-6 6, Morgan Maransani 1 0-2 2, Kenzi Tims 0 1-3 1. Totals: 9 8-16 27.

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