TACOMA — The outcome wasn’t what the Union girls basketball team wanted Friday, but what the Titans did achieve is hitting one goal on their list: get to Saturday.
Despite a 61-53 loss to Central Valley in Friday’s Class 4A state semifinals, the Titans will play for their first state trophy in program history.
And that has junior Lolo Weatherspoon and her teammates appreciative.
“It’s super heartbreaking to lose,” said Weatherspoon, who also turned 17 Friday, “but we still have to be grateful we came this far. Not many teams have the opportunity to do this. We’ll come out Saturday and fight hard.”
Union faces Glacier Peak in Saturday’s third-place game at the Tacoma Dome. Tip off is 11:15 a.m. Earlier this season, Union topped Glacier Peak, 49-45, in the a nonleague game Dec. 13.
And by playing foro a trophy Saturday, Union already has solidified itself as the best girls basketball program since the school opened in 2007.
Before this week, no Union team reached the state quarterfinals. This Titan team did that by winning their regional game last week against second-seeded Todd Beamer to earn a straight bid to the quarterfinals.
And it won its first state game at the Tacoma Dome, too, by dispatching Moses Lake, 55-51, on Thursday to face a Bears team that’s won two 4A state titles since 2016.
Senior guard Mason Oberg scored a game-high 26 points on 9 of 17 shooting Friday, including 6 of 7 from 3-point range. In fact, her six 3s fell one shy of tying the 4A tournament record of seven held by two players.
Oberg said postgame it’s a special accomplishment to even get within striking distance. A torn ACL kept her out all of junior year. She’s also Union’s leading scorer this season.
“After everything from last year,” she said, “… I wanted to be here and try to play as best as I can.”
By halftime, the senior point guard had 11 of her team’s 21 points trailing 29-21. While Union never led, it tied Central Valley five times, including a 31-31 tie by the 5-minute mark of the third quarter on Oberg’s fourth 3.
But as quickly as Union tied it, the Bears went on a run using strong outside shooting and attacking the basket to go on a 16-6 run to close out the quarter. Union got as close as 12 inside 3 minute to play.
“Central Valley has great defenders,” said Weatherspoon, a player known for her defense, “and we didn’t adjust very well. It’s tough when you’re momentum gets like that, and they go on runs. It can be tough to come back, but I think we fought all the way until the end.”
Weatherspoon and Mackenzie Lewis each scored eight points, and Abbey Kaip added six. Lewis also had nine rebounds.
CENTRAL VALLEY 61, UNION 53
CENTRAL VALLEY (22-3) — Michael Pitts 10, MJ Bruno 4, Peyton Howard 18, Grace Geldien 12, Chloe Williams 9, Abby Lewis 8, Camryn Rudd 0. Totals 30 (6) 7-10 61.
UNION (21-6) — Mason Oberg 26, Lolo Weatherspoon 8, Abbey Kaip 6, Mackenzie Lewis 8, Sarah Litchford 3, Sydney Cowling 2, Lexi Raymore 0, Olivia Euverman 0, Kaneyl Carpenter 0, Ariel Ammentorp 0. Totals 27 (9) 8-13 53.
Cen. Val 13 16 20 12 – 61
Union 13 8 16 16 – 53