Berlin Brothersvalley falls to Union Area in PIAA 1A semifinals
HEMPFIELD TOWNSHIP -- Things looked good for Berlin Brothersvalley early on in its PIAA Class 1A girls basketball semifinal against Union Area on Tuesday at Hempfield Area High School.
The Mountaineers led the Scotties 13-9 at the half. However, Union Area, the District 7 champs, outscored Berlin 36-18 in the second half to top the Mountaineers 45-31 and bring a memorable season to a close.
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"I don't ever want to say, 'Oh, we did good enough,' because we wanted to play in that next game, and always be striving to be No. 1," said Berlin coach Rachel Prosser. "These girls have battled all year and exceeded expectations."
Berlin (22-6) stifled Union in the first half with its stellar defense. After the Scotties took a 2-0 lead, the Mountaineers closed the quarter on a 7-0 spurt for a 7-2 lead after one.
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Neither team shot well from the field in the first half, much in part because of the defense being played by both combatants. One of the major reasons Berlin advanced to the state semifinals is because of the defense Coach Prosser preaches and gets her teams to buy into year after year.
Union (22-6) chipped away at Berlin's lead in the second, outscoring the Mountaineers 7-6 and trailed 13-9 at the break.
The Scotties turned it on in the second half. A 7-0 run to begin the third, headlined by a Kayla Fruehstorfer three- with 5:57 left in the quarter, gave Union Area its first lead since the first quarter, 16-13.
Union never trailed again. The Scotties held a 28-22 lead headed to the fourth.
Berlin, the District 5 champs, battled hard to get back in the game. The Mountaineers outscored the Scotties 5-2 to open the frame and trailed 30-27.
But, unfortunately, for Berlin, it could get no closer. Union Area went 15-for-20 at the charity stripe in the fourth to punch its ticket to Hershey, where it will meet Our Lady of Lourdes Regional.
Kelly Cleaver paced the Scotties with a game-high 15 points and 12 rebounds.
Senior Grace Sechler led the Mountaineers with nine points. Jenny Countryman grabbed 10 rebounds. Coach Prosser ran nine players in and out of the game on Tuesday. Each one of those girls played an integral role in the team's success, as well as the girls who prepared the Mountaineers for a grueling schedule throughout the year.
Berlin Brothersvalley will lose a handful of talented seniors to graduation, including Sechler, who surpassed 1,000 career points this year and will play at Seton Hill next season, Countryman, Peyton Grenke, Leah Miller and Mckenzie Moore.
The senior class tallied 71 wins during their fantastic careers as Mountaineers.
"This is a great, great group of kids outside of basketball," Prosser said of her team. "Probably the nicest group you could possibly know. But on the court, also, I'm so proud of them. They overcame a lot of things that maybe people didn't believe they could do. These seniors have now set a standard for the younger girls who are coming up with expectations, and that will go a long way for our program."
Adam Ripple is the Daily American sports editor. He can be reached at 814-444-5926. Follow him on Twitter @ARipple_DAsport. Follow Daily American Sports on Facebook and @dailyamericanmedia on Instagram.
This article originally appeared on The Daily American: Second-half surge by Union Area ends Berlin Brothersvalley's season