ARMSTRONG - Jasmine Clausen did not even start Monday night's season-opening basketball game, but the senior guard triggered North Union's fourth-quarter comeback.
Clausen drilled three consecutive 3-pointers, while teammate Aurora Oliver nailed two trifectas during the final six minutes of regulation to help the hometown Warriors erase a nine-point deficit to the Bishop Garrigan Golden Bears.
Oliver produced a team-best 13 points and five rebounds to go with three assists, while Clausen delivered nine points to propel North Union to a 45-40 non-league comeback victory over Bishop Garrigan in Armstrong.
DRAINING A TREY — North Union guard Jasmine Clausen (left) releases a 3-pointer over Bishop Garrigan defender Aubrie Meyers during season-opening nonconference basketball action Monday night in Armstrong. Photo by Leanna Becker
"That was one heck of a comeback," said Warrior mentor Merle Tigges. "Unfortunately, losing a player to an injury off of the opening tip is not how you want to do it."
Starting guard Collete Haag injured her knee driving to the basket only four seconds into the game before Clausen came off the bench to fill the void.
After not scoring a point through the first three quarters of action, Clausen warmed up the cotton cords from behind the 3-point arc with six minutes remaining in the game.
Trailing 35-26, North Union freshman post player Sara Rolling sank a solo free throw before Clausen buried a net-snapping trifecta from the left corner off of the first of Cheyanne Boland's three consecutive assists.
Boland then spotted Oliver behind the bonus line from just left of the top of the key for another 3-pointer to whittle the Bears' lead to 35-33 with 4:40 remaining.
Clausen then squared up from the left wing, caught Boland's delivery and sank another 3-pointer to swing a 36-35 lead to the Warriors at the 3:26 juncture.
Froehlich answered for Garrigan with a left-wing 3-pointer off an assist from Aubrie Meyers only 43 seconds later, but Clausen proved worthy of the challenge. Clausen nailed a right-wing trey off of Oliver's dribble drive-turned-assist to restore a one-point North Union lead with two minutes to go.
Kristin Condoleon drilled a 15-footer to recapture the lead for the Bears on the ensuing trip upcourt only to watch as Boland sank two free throws - sandwiched around a Garrigan timeout at the 1:40 mark - to restore the home team's edge.
Oliver put the game out of reach when she drilled a 3-pointer from the right wing on the heels of teammate Madison Bollig's defensive gem and Dena Looft's rebound-turned-outlet pass. Bollig blocked a Garrigan shot in the low post.
North Union outscored Garrigan, 19-9, in the final eight minutes to cap its comeback victory.
The two teams battled to an 8-all tie on the heels of Condoleon's 3-pointer off the window with only 24 seconds left in the opening quarter.
North Union, however, snapped a 13-13 deadlock when Rolling converted a traditional 3-point play in the lane with a minute remaining before halftime. Rolling took an entry pass from Clausen, spun to face the basket and split a pair of Bear defenders before hitting the 10-foot leaner and drawing the foul.
Condoleon, who topped all players with 17 points, and backcourt teammate Haley Froehlich later combined on an 11-0 scoring surge midway through the third quarter to swing a five-point lead to Garrigan.
North Union (1-0) plays host to North Iowa tonight in Armstrong in another nonconference contest.
Bishop Garrigan (0-1) plays host to Clarion-Goldfield tonight in Algona, Iowa.