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United girls bow out of District 6-A basketball playoffs, end season at .500 | TribLIVE.com
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United girls bow out of District 6-A basketball playoffs, end season at .500

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The United Lions' Wendi Walsh (left) takes a shot around Bishop Guilfoyle opponents during United's 53-27 loss in a District 6 Class A quarterfinal game Feb. 21 at Central Cambria High School. Bruce Siskawicz | The Dispatch

In its first playoff game since 2007, the United girls’ basketball team bounced back from a slow start against Williamsburg Feb. 18 to earn its first postseason win in 11 years.

Another slow start in last Thursday’s District 6 Class A quarterfinal against top-seeded Bishop Guilfoyle was too much to overcome as the Marauders cruised to a 53-27 win.

For the second game in a row, United managed just two first-quarter points. Guilfoyle held a less-than-insurmountable 8-2 lead after eight minutes, but the Marauders put together a dominant second quarter to pull away for a 31-9 halftime lead.

“We wanted to take it quarter-by-quarter,” United coach Lee Ann Ault said after her team finished the season 12-12 overall. “(The second quarter) really was the downfall. We just got emotional, and that happens (when) you’re playing with a young group.”

The six-time defending District 6 champs protected that lead in the second half, outscoring United 10-8 in the third quarter and 12-10 in the fourth quarter.

“Definitely not the outcome we wanted, but Guilfoyle is a good team,” Ault said. “You can’t take anything away from them. We gave them everything we had tonight.”

United junior Eden Bloom scored a game-high 19 points, including 17 of the Lions’ 18 second-half points and their only first-quarter points.

“We had a gameplan,” Ault said. “We didn’t stick to it very well, but it is what it is. We’ve come further that I think most thought we would.”

The Lions won just three games in the 2011-12 season and had just two seniors on their 10-player roster – guard Wendi Walsh and forward Laura Brilhart.

Looking ahead to next season, United will likely retain its leading scorer in Bloom and bring back starters Kylee Surike and Taylor Mack, both freshmen this year. The Lions’ top reserve this season, Morgan Strait, was also a freshman.

“The future is bright,” Ault said. “We’re young, and we’ll be back.”

Bishop Guilfoyle seniors Kayla Bates and Devin Stessney each scored seven points during the Marauders’ second-quarter flurry. Bates led her team with 14 points and four blocks while Stessney finished with 12 points.

Greg Reinbold is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-459-6100, ext. 2913 or greinbold@tribweb.com.

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