United rolls past Campbell

MINERAL RIDGE – The United Local Golden Eagles opened their Div. III sectional match-up with Campbell Memorial on a 19-0 run, and never let off the gas pedal as they cruised to a 91-26 victory over the Red Devils on Tuesday night at Mineral Ridge High School.

“It was a really good start to what we hope is a long tournament, we stepped up our defense a lot and we’ve been working really hard on it in practice so it was our focus tonight,” senior Emily Zehentbauer said.

The 91 points in a game ties a single-game record for most points scored as a team by the Eagles (21-2, 14-0) in a 91-37 win over Beaver Local.

“We like to score, so it always feel good to score,” senior MacKenzie Gatchel said.

Twelve members of the Eagles did just that, recording at least one point. Three girls tallied double figures.

Zehentbauer led all scorers with 25 points and seven rebounds. Gatchel added a double-double, with 10 boards and 15 points. Sam Spitler also added 13 points.

United allowed just one point after the first quarter had come to a close. The 26 total points is the second lowest game-total that the Eagles have allowed this season. United gave up 23 in a 52-23 win over Jackson-Milton.

“My girls didn’t quit, we have a lot of young kids and we are trying to work towards next year. United is pretty experienced and they’ve been here a few times,” Campbell coach Kevin Douglas said. “That’s exactly what we talked about before the game, they had to work to get here and we have to work to do the same thing. It takes time and patience.”

The Eagles had to endure a long layoff before stepping foot onto a court for Tuesday night’s game. In practice, Mathias and crew did their best to simulate game situations, but there is a difficulty to replicate such scenarios before they happen.

“We went through the layoff last year too, so we did a couple different things in practice with our intensity and a couple different drills we like to do on hard days,” United coach Sam Mathias said. “We did some game situations which helped us keep on schedule with what we wanted to do.”

The break, however, had seemingly no affect on the girls.

“I thought it helped us a lot because it gave us time to work on everything that we needed to,” Gatchel said. “It showed because we looked good tonight.”

The dismissal of Campbell (0-21) leads to a bout with South Range for the sectional crown. The Eagles have already notched two wins against the Raiders this season, but know that a third won’t come easy.

“We all know that they are a good team and a well-coached team,” Gatchel said. “We have to slow them down offensively and keep them outside, not let them inside the paint.”

With the familiarity between the two teams, the Eagles aren’t expecting to see too many surprises from the Raiders.

“I just told them in the locker room that it’s very hard to beat a team three times,” Mathias said. “South Range has nothing to lose and everything to gain in this so we know that they’re going to bring the best that they have we’ve got to match that and do better than that.”

But the Eagles have something else on their side now as well.

“We’re back in a rhythm now as far as we go, there’s not that huge of a break, no more than a week off,” Mathias said. “We can still focus on the little things in practice. It’s nice to have the game right now instead of being off for another ten or twelve days.”