Titans will play in third-place game Saturday after losing to Central Valley
TACOMA — The Union girls basketball team is still playing.
It might not be for a state championship, but it is for a trophy.
That is a first for the program.
That is special.
“Our goal was to play on Saturday, and that’s what we’re doing,” senior guard Mason Oberg said Friday after Union fell in the Class 4A state basketball semifinals in the Tacoma Dome.
Peyton Howard had 18 points, six assists, and four steals, leading Central Valley to a 61-53 victory to advance to the title game.
Union will play Glacier Peak in the third-place game at 11:15 a.m. Saturday. The Titans are assured of bringing home hardware for the first time in program history.
“We’re grateful to be here,” Union’s Lolo Weatherspoon said.
For a few moments in the third quarter, the Titans were thinking a spot in the finals was a very big possibility.
Abbey Kaip and Oberg hit 3-pointers during a 10-0 run to tie the game at 31 midway through the quarter. The Titans had something going their way.
Just like that, though, the Bears regained the momentum and pushed the lead to double digits by the end of the quarter.
Still, the Titans kept fighting.
Trailing by 17 in the fourth quarter, Union went on an 11-0 run to make it a six-point game in the closing minutes.
“We just were fighting as hard as we could,” Weatherspoon said. “It can be tough when other teams catch momentum. It can be tough to fight back, but we did the best we could to stay in the game until the end.”
“Nobody gets down on each other,” Oberg said. “We’re all so competitive, we want to scrap and get the game as close as we possibly can.”
Oberg made six 3-pointers — one off the state tournament record — and scored 26 points for the Titans.
“My shot felt good. I was going to keep letting them go,” she said. “It was just my night tonight.”
Central Valley will play Woodinville for the championship.
“That’s just a bad matchup for us, to be honest,” Union coach Gary Mills said, referring to Central Valley’s big, physical team against Union’s smaller guards.
Central Valley doubled Union’s total in offensive rebounds. Two times in the game, the Bears had four shots on one possession.
Still, Union was in there. Oberg hit a 3-pointer to tie the game at the end of the first quarter. She hit another late in the second quarter, too.
Then the oddity of that third quarter. Again, the Titans rallied from a 10-point deficit to tie, then trailed by 12 by the end of the quarter.
The fourth quarter could have turned into a runway for the Bears. The Titans said no way.
Mills said that effort made him proud.
“We’ve had some big wins over the last couple of weeks,” the coach said. “We’ve bonded. That’s brought everyone together. One loss today is not going to change that. It’s still been the time of our life.”