ORANGE CITY, Iowa | Unity Christian kept a lengthy streak alive by knocking off Class 2A No. 7 West Sioux 57-47 in a War Eagle Conference girls basketball game here Friday night.
The three-time defending War Eagle champions ran its league winning streak to 43 consecutive games while handing West Sioux its first conference setback. The last time Unity Christian lost a War Eagle game was on Jan. 17, 2014, at Hinton.
Unity, of course, won back-to-back 2A state championships before finishing 17-6 last season. It won three conference games after the setback to Hinton, went three consecutive seasons with 11-0 marks and halfway through this season’s loop slate have a 7-0 record.
A fourth-quarter lockdown allowed the Knights to conquer West Sioux, which coming into Friday’s game had lost only to Class 5A Sioux City West. Unity outscored the Falcons 14-5 in the final stanza after trailing by a point at the end of the third quarter.
West Sioux went scoreless for nearly seven minutes in the fourth quarter.
“It was a sloppy game all the way around, too many turnovers,” Unity Christian Coach Jay Schuiteman said. “We threw the ball away way too much and the first half was just odd with all the fouls, too. I thought we settled in a little bit more in the second half.
“We switched the defense up a little bit and were able to get a lot of key stops. And, kind of like we’ve had all year, our players made plays down the stretch.”
Unranked Unity Christian, now 11-3 overall, made 6 of 9 free throws in the fourth quarter and got a couple of big plays from freshman Janie Schoonhoven and senior Haley Hofmeyer.
Schoonhoven, who notched a double-double with 14 points and 13 rebounds, gathered in her own missed shot and scored with 2:40 left, giving the Knights a 50-44 lead. Hofmeyer, who added 13 points and seven rebounds, followed with a steal and layup and was fouled on the shot, converting a 3-point play.
The teams had identical shooting numbers, 19-for-50 for 38 percent, but West Sioux made only 6 of 20 free throws while Unity was 16-for-28 from the stripe.
“They’re long and athletic and all about the same height, they get in the passing lanes and are going to alter shots and play hard, we knew that coming in,” West Sioux Coach Adam McVay said. “We just didn’t take care of the ball down the stretch, we got under pressure and turned it over. The biggest thing is we were 6 of 20 from the free throw line. In a game against a good team you’re going to kick yourself over that one because you have to convert at the line.”
West Sioux (11-2, 5-1) had leads of 15-11 and 28-26 after the first two ragged quarters when each team committed 13 turnovers and they combined to shoot 27 free throws.
The Falcons led most of the third quarter and were in front 42-38 with 1:21 remaining. But Schoonhoven scored underneath and Justine Malenke canned a 3-pointer, giving Unity a one-point advantage at the quarter break.
Abbie Ericson scored with 6:42 remaining in the fourth quarter, but the Falcons didn’t get on the board again until a 3-pointer by Emma Mace with 15 seconds left in the game.
Sophomore Emma McManaman gave West Sioux a big lift with 12 points and 11 rebounds in a reserve role. Mace finished with 11 points and Ericson 10 for the Falcons, while Unity’s Jori Bronner was also in double figures with 10 points.
Unity had a 10-game winning streak snapped by Class 2A No. 3 Hull Western Christian on Thursday night. West Sioux, meanwhile, had won 11 of 12 games despite missing all-stater Taylor Rodenburgh, who suffered a season-ending knee injury before the season began.