MILFORD - Okoboji sophomore Megan Peschong helped keep the Pioneers girls basketball team in the game early, scoring eight of her game-high 22 points in the opening quarter against the North Union Warriors.
Although the Pioneers didn't take their first lead until the 2:38 mark of the second quarter, they didn't relenquish it, taking the 61-50 Class 2A, Region 1 quarterfinal victory in Milford in Tuesday.
The Pioneers (15-7) advance to face Pocahontas Area in the Class 2A, Region 1 semifinals at 7 p.m. on Friday in Pocahontas.
POSTING UP — Okoboji’s Shaelyn Adams (24) posts up while looking for an entry pass from teammate Abby Taylor during Iowa Class 2A, Region 1 quarterfinal basketball action Tuesday night in Okoboji, Iowa. North Union’s Aurora Oliver (43) defends on the play as Warrior teammate Dena Looft (53) looks on. (Photo Courtesy of Rhonda Oleson)
North Union finishes its season with a 14-7 record.
Pochahontas Area advanced to face Okoboji with a 78-64 win over Hartley-Melvin-Sanborn on Tuesday in Pocahontas.
The Warriors jumped out to an 8-6 lead, and by the end of the first quarter held onto a 15-10 advantage thanks to sophomore Sarah Rolling's offensive efforts.
Rolling, who ended up scoring a team-leading 19 points also helped to keep North Union within striking distance late in the game.
The Warrior forward hit a 3 from the wing with 1:01 left in the third quarter to make it 39-32 in the Pioneers favor.
In the final 61 seconds of the third quarter Okoboji had a five-point swing, with the help of a Darby Jones' free throw and jumper.
Olivia Albright, who scored five points for the Pioneers also hit a jumper from the elbow to help the home team stake a 44-32 lead going into the final period.
"We didn't handle their pressure as well as we should have tonight," said North Union head coach Merle Tigges. "We broke it early, and then for some reason struggled with it late and they were able to take advantage of our turnovers."
With 4:45 left in the game, Rolling swished a pair of free throws to cut the deficit to 47-40 and sparked the Warrior offense.
Aurora Oliver, who netted 12 points in the game, swished one of her three 3s with 2:13 left in the game to cut the Pioneer lead to to 53-47.
Then as Okoboji brought the ball up the court, Oliver pocketed a steal, zipped a pass to Madison Bollig on the block and they made it a 55-49 game with 1:32 on the clock.
Unfortunately for the Warriors, Emily Wintz, who came off the bench for the Pioneers, sank a pair of free throws 17 seconds later to go up 57-49.
Wintz, who scored 11 points and had six boards, then swiped a Warrior pass at midcourt that turned layup to make it a 10-point game with just under a minute to play.
The Pioneers held off the Warriors pressure defense late in the game to maintain the win.
Of the Warriors 15 first-quarter points, Rolling generated eight, while Oliver and Peyton Oleson scored the remaining North Union points.
Oliver sank a 3 from the wing for the first points of the game, before Rolling swished a three from the top of the key to take the early lead.
Rolling then spun around for a pair of layups, netting a tradtional three-point play with a made free throw.
Oleson added a baseline jumper late in the quarter, before Oliver swished a shot from inside the arc to generate the advantage.
Peschong meanwhile, scored eight of the Pioneers first-quarter points, causing the Warriors problems in the paint on her way to a double-double night.
The Pioneer sophomore center scored back-to-back baskets midway through the second to cut the home teams' deficit to 18-16.
"Their center (Peschong) is a solid player, she usually scores in double figures for them, but tonight we did not shut her down like we could have, and that really hurt us," said Tigges.
Albright then banked in a pair of free throws 3:40 before halftime to tie the game.
Wintz was able to then give Okoboji it's firs lead with a steal, driving the length of the floor for a layup to go ahead 22-20 with 2:38 left before half.
NU 15 7 9 18-50
OKO 10 15 19 17-61
NO. UNION (50)
Oleson 1-6 0-0 2, Irmiter 0-2 1-3 1, Rolling 7-9 3-3 19, Bollig 1-4 0-0 2, Oliver 4-9 1-2 12, Looft 1-4 0-0 2, Valvick 3-9 5-6 12. Totals 17-43 10-16 50.
Peschong 9-14 4-5 22, Taylor 1-14 2-2 5, Jones 2-3 6-8 10, Albright 1-3 3-4 5, Adams 3-8 0-0 8, McCabe 0-0 0-2 0, Wintz 4-9 3-4 11. Totals 20-51 18-25 61.
3-pointers: North Union 6-15 (Rolling 2-2, Bollig 0-1, Oliver 3-4, Looft 0-3, Valvick 1-5); Okoboji 3-9 (Taylor 1-5, Adams 2-4). Rebounds: NU 22 (Looft 7, Rolling and Oliver 4 each); Okoboji 33 (Peschong 11, Jones 9, Wintz 6). Fouled out: None. Steals: NU 5 (Rolling 2); Okoboji 6 (Peschong, Taylor and Wintz 2 each).