Warriors’ balance bests Indians, 55-47

CHALLENGE — North Union forward Hope Steinberger (12) challenges a shot by Forest City guard Noelle Jones (far right) during Top of Iowa Conference basketball action Tuesday night in Armstrong. The Warriors’ Chloe Lofstrom (left) and Maddie Rolling (3), along with the Indians’ Shae Dillavou, look on. (Photo by Greg Abel)

ARMSTRONG — North Union literally displayed its Hope in tipping off the current girls basketball season with a third consecutive victory.

Forward Hope Steinberger delivered a game-high 18 points on the strength of three 3-pointers and garnered a game-best six steals, while center Chloe Lofstrom singed the nets on 11 of 11 free throws to pace her 17-point performance in guiding the Warriors to a hard-fought 55-47 triumph over the Forest City Indians on Tuesday night.

“We knew it’d be a tough (Top of Iowa) conference game coming into tonight,” said North Union head coach Merle Tigges. “In fact, we’ve got two more left this week with ELC (Estherville-Lincoln Central) at home Thursday and at West Hancock on Friday night.

“It was definitely a back-and-forth game for three quarters until Hope and Brooklyn (Prochniak) hit back-to-back key shots for us midway through the fourth.”

Trailing 42-38 on the heels of Ellie Caylor’s last-second trifecta to end the third quarter and Noelle Jones’ trey to open the fourth, Steinberger converted Lofstrom’s assist into a baseline leaner to halt Forest City’s 8-0 run with 5:30 remaining in regulation.

Two minutes later, Prochniak and Steinberger packed a lethal 1-2 punch to trigger the Warriors’ ensuing 15-2 run that put the game out of reach.

Prochniak, who did not even attempt a shot in the first three segments, drained the pivotal go-ahead 3-pointer off a Steinberger assist. Steinberger then pick-pocketed the Indians’ inbound pass and hit the shot for a 45-42 lead with 3 1/2 minutes to go.

Kelsey Koch, who produced 11 points to go with team-bests of three assists and three steals, then swiped the basketball and hit the lay-in to whittle Forest City’s deficit to one at the 3-minute juncture.

Lofstrom then swished her 10th and 11th free throws on the back-and-forth clash to restore a three-point edge before North Union’s defensive pressure took its toll on Forest City during the final 2 1/2 minutes.

Prochniak later converted a one-and-one situation before Rory McClellan, Steinberger and Prochniak combined for six more charity tosses to cap the comeback victory.

Lofstrom, who delivered 11 of the Warriors’ 28 first-half points, grabbed a team-best five rebounds, while Maddie Rolling and Prochniak finished with eight and seven points, respectively. McClellan doled out four assists to pace North Union.

Jones finished with 17 points to top Forest City, Shae Dillavou came off the bench to produced eight points and a game-high seven rebounds, while Ellie Caylor added nine points on the strength of three 3s.

Jones scored seven points to pace the Indians’ 17-14 first-quarter lead before Steinberger drilled two 3s and Lofstrom scored five points to pace the Warriors’ 14-8 second-quarter offensive edge en route to a 28-25 halftime lead.

North Union (3-0) plays host to Estherville-Lincoln Central at 6 p.m. Thursday night in Armstrong. Forest City (2-2) plays host to North Iowa on Friday night.

Forest City 17 8 14 8 — 47

North Union 14 14 10 17 — 55

NORTH UNION (55)

Lofstrom 3-5 11-11 17, McClellan 0-2 1-6 1, Steinberger 6-10 3-4 18, Prochniak 1-1 4-4 7, Rolling 3-6 0-0 8, Von Bank 0-1 1-2 1, Henderson 1-3 0-0 3, Laverty 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 14-29 20-27 55.

FOREST CITY (47)

Miller 0-3 2-4 2, Larson 0-2 0-0 0, Jones 6-12 2-2 17, Erin Caylor 0-4 0-0 0, Koch 4-8 0-1 11, Dillavou 3-6 2-2 8, Kingland 0-0 0-0 0, Ellie Caylor 3-7 0-0 9. Totals 16-42 6-9 47.

3-pointers: Forest City 9-23 (Jones 3-8, Koch 3-5, Ellie Caylor 3-7, Dillavou 0-2, Erin Caylor 0-1); North Union 7-13 (Steinberger 3-4, Rolling 2-5, Henderson 1-1, Prochniak 1-1, McClellan 0-1, Von Bonk 0-1). Fouled out: Jones. Rebounds: Forest City 24 (Dillavou 7); North Union 19 (Lofstrom 5). Assists: North Union 8 (McClellan 4); Forest City 8 (Koch 3). Steals: North Union 11 (Steinberger 6); Forest City 7 (Koch 3).

Boys Basketball

Forest City 70, North Union 36 — The Indians beat the Warriors by 34 in a Top of Iowa Conference game in Armstrong on Tuesday night.

No individual or team statistics were reported.

North Union (0-2) plays host to Estherville-Lincoln Central on Thursday night in Armstrong.

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