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Pocahontas stuns North Union in regional hoops quarterfinal

SURROUNDED — North Union defenders Olivia Von Bank (1), Sam Nielsen (back left), Lily Henderson (4) and Cassie Beadle (3) surround Pocahontas’ Abby Oberhelman during Iowa Class 2A, Region 7 quarterfinal basketball action Tuesday night in Armstrong. Pocahontas’ Akaysa Duitscher (front) calls for the pass. (Photo by Greg Abel)

ARMSTRONG — Olivia Von Bank’s free throws with 2:03 remaining in regulation drew North Union even with Pocahontas on the scoreboard on Tuesday night.

Cassie Beadle’s sideline steal during the Indians’ late delay and ensuing solo free throw later put the hometown Warriors up 40-39 with only 19.6 seconds to go.

Enter Ellie Melohn.

Pocahontas point guard Akaysa Duitscher drove the lane, spotted Ellie Melohn in the left corner and the senior reserve guard buried the go-ahead 3-pointer with 4.2 seconds remaining.

Melohn’s trifecta — only her fifth of the season — proved the difference in the Indians’ 42-40 Iowa Class 2A, Region 7 quarterfinal basketball triumph over the Warriors in Armstrong.

Pocahontas (13-8) advances to play Rock Valley (14-9) — a 54-53 winner over Sibley-Ocheyedan on Tuesday night — in a 7 p.m. regional semifinal Friday night at Sibley-Ocheyedan High School.

North Union ended its season with a 15-7 record.

“She (Ellie Melohn) started eight games during the middle of the season due to some injuries on our team,” said Pocahontas head coach Robert Maske. “When we got those players back, I was impressed with the way she accepted her role of coming off the bench again.

“Tonight, she got an open look from the corner and didn’t hesitate and made the game-winner.”

“Our girls did everything we drew up and stopped their point guard (Duitscher) from getting a look at the basket,” said North Union assistant coach Joel Klocke.

Ironically, Ellie Melohn, a 13.8% shooter from 3-point range during the 20-game regular season, connected on her only shot Tuesday night to exit as the regional quarterfinal’s hero.

“That’s worth its weight in gold to see that happen for her and our team,” said Maske.

North Union and Pocahontas battled back-and-forth to ties at 2, 7, 19 and 26 during the first three quarters before being deadlocked at 32, 34, 37 and 39 in the last 8-minute segment.

With center Sam Nielsen, who pulled down nine of the Warriors’ 30 rebounds, sitting out with an ankle injury, the Indians managed to take the lead after trailing 37-34 on the heels of North Union guard Vanessa Von Bank’s 3-pointer with 4 minutes remaining in regulation.

Paige Melohn made her only field goal — a 3-pointer — out of a dozen attempts to tie the game at 37 before Abby Oberhelman’s offensive putback proved critical at the 2:15 juncture. Oberhelman grabbed one of her game-best 13 rebounds and tossed in a 10-footer for two of her 10 points to stake Pocahontas to a two-point edge.

Olivia Von Bank, who delivered a game-best 17 points to complement a team-high 10 rebounds for a double-double, then pounded the paint to earn a pair of free throws to knot the score at 39-all.

The Indians opted to work time off the clock during the final 2 minutes, but Beadle managed to pocket a steal during a sideline pileup near midcourt, drew the foul and sank a solo free throw.

Vanessa Von Bank closed out her prep basketball career with nine points for the Warriors, Cassie Beadle tallied three steals and three assists, while Lily Henderson chipped in three steals.

Duitscher netted 12 points, four steals and four assists for the Indians, while Paige Melohn garnered a dozen boards.

POC 12 11 7 12 — 42

NU 15 5 12 8 — 40

NORTH UNION (40)

O. Von Bank 7-12 3-8 17, V. Von Bank 3-9 1-2 9, Nielsen 1-9 1-4 3, Beadle 1-4 1-2 4, Henderson 1-4 0-0 3, Meyer 0-3 1-2 1, Jones 1-4 0-0 3. Totals 14-45 7-18 40.

POCAHONTAS (42)

Oberhelman 5-8 0-1 10, P. Melohn 1-12 1-2 4, Sump 3-7 0-0 6, Janssen 3-8 1-3 7, Duitscher 5-16 0-0 12, Vonnahme 0-2 0-2 0, E. Melohn 1-1 0-0 3. Totals 18-54 2-8 42.

3-pointers: North Union 5-16 (V. Von Bank 2-8, Jones 1-1, Henderson 1-2, Beadle 1-4, Meyer 0-1); Pocahontas 4-21 (E. Melohn 1-1, Duitscher 2-10, P. Melohn 1-6, Janssen 0-2, Oberhelman 0-1, Sump 0-1). Fouled out: Sump (P) and Janssen (P). Rebounds: Pocahontas 38 (Oberhelman 13, P. Melohn 12); North Union 30 (O. Von Bank 10, Nielsen 9). Assists: Pocahontas 8 (Duitscher 4); North Union 5 (Beadle 3). Steals: North Union 9 (Beadle and Henderson 3 each); Pocahontas 8 (Duitscher 4).

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