Gumm comes up big late to
lift Unioto to huge SVC win
By Shayne Combs,
Monday night at Unioto was everything a fan could want in a high
school basketball game. Two proud programs took center stage in front
of an amazing atmosphere, and on this night, Unioto proved to be two
points better in a 48-46 win.

Entering this match-up of the league’s best defense in ZT and best
offense in Unioto, a key for both teams was winning the battle of
tempo. In the first half, I felt this battle went to Zane Trace. After a
lot of nervous energy on both sides produced an ugly first four
minutes of the game, both teams started to settle in and play. The
story in the first half was Erin Dailey on the defensive end. The 6â
€™0â€� senior center dominated the paint blocking several shots and
changing several others. Unioto had trouble getting any offense in the
paint, and when Dailey didn’t block a shot she was cleaning the
glass leaving Unioto to one-and-done. Zane Trace held an 8-7 lead after
the first quarter, but more important than the one-point advantage was
the fact that tempo was more half court and was unfolding as a
defensive struggle which completely favored the Lady Pioneers.

The second quarter started to see the game get faster. Unioto’s
Janae Driggs, who scored a game-high 24 points to move into 38th
place on the all-time SVC scoring list, did start to get it going on the
offensive end; however, ZT was shutting down all the other Lady
Shermans. Late in the quarter, Zane Trace was able to capitalize at the
free throw line with two free throws from Dailey and two more from
Karina Partee to tie the game at 17-17. Unioto did eventually take a 21-
17 halftime advantage as Driggs connected on a four-point play with
less than a minute to play. Even with this shot, I thought it was just a
big time player making a big time shot, and Zane Trace was in a good
position at the halfway point.

The third quarter is when Unioto took a stranglehold on the game. The
box score shows that Unioto did not have balanced scoring for the
entire game, but for a five or six minute spurt in the third quarter,
Unioto got great contributions from a lot of players. Five different
Unioto players scored in the period including a big three-pointer from
Mallory Retherford. All totaled, the Lady Shermans ended the quarter
on a 17-6 run capped off by a Driggs to Hannah Miller basket to give
Unioto a 40-26 advantage entering the final quarter.

With Zane Trace down 14 and in terrible foul trouble, it looked like
things could completely get away, but senior Sierra Sigman completely
took the game over in the early part of the fourth quarter. Sigman, who
ended with a team-high 23 points, scored nine points in the first five
minutes of the final quarter to bring ZT within four at 43-39. Over the
final three minutes, Coach Dunkle decided to turn it into a free throw
contest, and Unioto went through a nightmare at the charity stripe
making only 6-of-18 from the line in the fourth quarter. Each time
Unioto missed, Zane Trace continued to chip away. Finally, with 24.4
seconds remaining on the clock, it was two Dailey free throws that had
given the Lady Pioneers their first lead in quite some time at 46-45.

With Unioto now down one, the final 20 seconds of the game belonged
to junior Morgan Gumm. Gumm attacked the glass and was able to
draw a foul. She made good on one free throw to tie the game at 46-46.
On the ensuing possession, it was Gumm who recorded the big steal at
half court, and following the steal, she was fouled with 6.3 seconds
remaining. Gumm made good on both free throws to give Unioto a 48-
46 lead. Zane Trace ran an outstanding set in their final possession
giving them a would-be winning three-point shot but the shot did not
fall as Unioto held on to take ownership of the proverbial driver’s
seat in this year’s SVC race.

A few big keys jumped out at me tonight. Even though Sigman and
Dailey had incredible nights, Unioto did an outstanding job on Zane
Trace’s guards. Kelsey Dunkle and Jenna Wiget entered Monday
night the top two three-point shooters in the league; however, on this
night, Unioto allowed just one triple from the ZT backcourt. I thought
the length of Maddie Davis made it tough for Dunkle to get clean
looks, and the constant pressure applied by Retherford, Gumm, and
Driggs forced ZT’s perimeter to rush the few clean looks that they
did get.

Another big key was Unioto’s ability to change the tempo in the
second half. With the faster tempo and the balanced attack, Unioto
was able to occupy Dailey and get some better looks at the basket. As
mentioned before, Dailey impacted just about every first half
possession on the defensive end, but in the third quarter, Unioto got
into their offense much quicker and attacked the ZT defense before it
was set.

I give Zane Trace a lot of credit in the fourth quarter. Being on the road
and being in the type of foul trouble they were in, it would have been
easy to quit. The fourth quarter effort from the Lady Pioneers was

As for Unioto, this group just finds a way to get it done. To go
through what they went through early in the year and respond the way
they have, it says a lot about their character. In no way is the race over
as Unioto still has home dates with Adena and Piketon, but it
obviously puts them in control.

Lastly, the team that has to feel like they were given new life tonight
was the two-shade ladies from Adena. As stated in the preview article
on Monday, a ZT win would have probably made it difficult for
Adena to have a chance to play for a share. Now, the Lady Warriors
control their own destiny as well.
SVC Scoreboard