Castle helps UPIKE win Siena Heights Thanksgiving Classic

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ADRIAN, Mich. – If Friday's first-round win was the entrée, then the University of Pikeville's 78-67 win over host Siena Heights was the dessert as the Bears claimed the ThanksQgiving Classic Tournament Championship on Saturday.

The Saints (2-6), ranked 22nd in NAIA Div. II, were undone by a game-best 24 points from Magoffin County High School graduate Jamie Castle and Kayla Mullins helped the cause with 14. Castle was named the tournament's most valuable player and Rachel Lee was named to the all-tournament team.

While the lead changed hands seven times in the game, it stayed with the Bears for good starting at the 8:43 mark of the third quarter. Siena Heights' biggest advantage was only three points on Clara Waidley's 3 to open the scoring.

UPIKE (6-4) held the Saints to 31.3 percent shooting while hitting at 46.4 percent itself, including a near-perfect 19-of-20 showing from the free-throw line. Siena Heights did lead on the boards 43-29, but its 20 turnovers that turned into 19 UPIKE points made up for it. 

Lee flirted with a double-double with eight points and eight rebounds and Aundrea Matchen finished with four points, five rebounds and three steals.

Addyson Tomczak led the Saints with 15 points off the bench and Azalea Miller added 14 points and seven boards in the loss.

UPIKE held a 24-17 lead in the second quarter, but a 10-2 Saints run before halftime helped it only trail by one at the break. A layup to start the second half briefly gave Siena Heights the lead, but UPIKE took it back for good on Emily Baker's bucket in the paint a minute later.

UPIKE's lead swelled to as many as 14 points the rest of the way as a pair of free throws by Castle made it 70-56 with 1:06 to play.

The Bears are scheduled to return home to host Thomas More at at 6 p.m. at the East Kentucky Expo Center on Tuesday, Dec. 5.