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Jones helps Warriors survive Cardinals in OT hoops clash

JORDANESQUE DRIVE — North Union guard Naomi Jones (14) dribbles away from Garner-Hayfield/Ventura’s Jayden Frank (second from left) during Top of Iowa basketball action Friday night in Armstrong. The Warriors’ Sam Nielsen (far left) and Emily Meyer (with face guard), along with the Cardinals’ Kylie Anderson (3), watch the action. (Photo by Greg Abel)

ARMSTRONG — North Union freshman guard Naomi Jones and her Warrior basketball teammates stole a Top of Iowa Conference victory from the Garner-Hayfield/Ventura Cardinals on Friday night.

Jones swooshed a buzzer-beating 17-foot baseline jumper to force overtime before producing a pivotal steal-turned-layup midway through the 4-minute extra session to help the Warriors survive the Cardinals, 46-39, in Armstrong.

“We pressed them in the backcourt and I was supposed to watch for one of their guards cutting to get the ball. I saw the play (develop) before she inbounded the pass, stepped in front of the player and stole the ball,” said Jones, who contributed seven key points and eight rebounds off the Warriors’ bench. Jones’ ensuing scoop lay-in widened the Warriors’ margin to 38-34 with 2:13 remaining in overtime.

Emily Meyer, who hit a solo free throw after grabbing a clutch offensive rebound only 4 seconds earlier, later hit a putback basket to stake North Union to a 40-34 lead with 1:14 to go and the home team never looked back.

Vanessa Von Bank drilled a 3-pointer off a Cassie Beadle assist to open a 35-32 lead for the Warriors in the early stages of the extra session before the Cardinals’ Jayden Frank countered with two free throws to still trail by one.

“I didn’t make any (3-pointers) until the overtime, but I guess I made one when it counts,” Vanessa Von Bank said with a laugh.

It was no laughing matter, however, when North Union built a 21-16 halftime lead — capped by Libby Stevens’ last-second trifecta off a Jones assist — and then managed to score only one second-half point during the 12-minute span prior to fourth quarter’s final 19.7 seconds.

Trailing 32-26, the Warriors somehow produced a cardiac comeback behind their full-court defensive pressure. Olivia Von Bank pocketed one of her game-best five steals out of a backcourt scrum before Vanessa Von Bank spotted Sam Nielsen for a low-post basket to trim the deficit to 32-28.

After North Union head coach Merle Tigges called timeout, Olivia Von Bank hit a pull-up 10-footer in the lane to slice the gap to 32-30.

Nielsen, who pulled down a game-best 14 rebounds, then delivered her most important one of the game with 8 seconds remaining in regulation. After the Cardinals missed both ends of a two-shot foul, Nielsen pulled down the board, drove the length of the court and spotted Jones for the 17-foot corner jumper before the horn sounded to salvage a tie at 32-all.

“Give Garner-Hayfield/Ventura credit — they battled us all game,” said Tigges, whose reserves produced 15 points.

Stevens contributed five points and Meyer tallied three key points and garnered four rebounds off North Union’s bench.

Olivia Von Bank topped the green-and-white with 11 points and five steals, Lily Henderson chipped in eight points — including four clutch free throws during the final 36 seconds of overtime, while Nielsen added seven points and three assists to her 14-board performance.

Jayden Frank collected a game-best 13 points and distributed four assists for the Cardinals, while teammate Liz Richardson neared double-double territory by netting 11 points to go with grabbing a team-high nine rebounds. Morgan Ryerson sank two 3s to highlight her seven-point effort off GHV’s bench.

North Union (8-3) travels to Graettinger, Iowa, on Tuesday night to face Graettinger-Terril/Ruthven Ayrshire.

GHV 13 3 8 8 7 — 39

NU 11 10 4 7 14 — 56

NORTH UNION (56)

O. Von Bank 5-9 1-4 11, V. Von Bank 2-12 0-0 5, Nielsen 2-6 3-8 7, Beadle 0-6 0-0 0, Henderson 2-6 4-6 8, Meyer 1-3 1-2 3, Charlton 0-0 0-0 0, Jones 3-3 1-3 7, Stevens 2-3 0-0 5. Totals 17-48 10-23 46.

GHV (39)

Richardson 4-6 3-4 11, J. Frank 2-13 7-10 13, C. Frank 0-6 2-2 2, Olson 2-5 1-2 5, Anderson 0-1 1-2 1, Ryerson 2-6 1-2 7, Watson 0-0 0-1 0, Hejlik 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 10-38 15-23 39.

3-pointers: North Union 2-21 (Stevens 1, V. Von Bank 1); Garner-Hayfield/Ventura 4-18 (J. Frank 2, Ryerson 2). Fouled out: C. Frank and V. Von Bank. Rebounds: North Union 40 (Nielsen 14, Jones 8); GHV 25 (Richardson 9). Assists: North Union 9 (Nielsen 3); GHV 7 (J. Frank 4). Steals: North Union 13 (O. Von Bank 5); GHV 9 (C. Frank 4).

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