Union (2-0) built a 44-34 lead after three quarters and pushed its lead to 16 after a quick 6-0 run to start the fourth period. Lipps, who finished with a double-double at 10 points and 10 rebounds, scored four points in the stretch.
Sullivan East (5-5) never recovered; the Patriots made just two of 12 fourth-quarter shots, never again having the game within single digits.
The Bears started fast behind the play of Brooks. A UVA Wise volleyball signee, the forward canned a pair of 3-pointers in the opening two minutes as part of her game-high 18 points to help her club to a 15-11 advantage after one.
Smith put her mark on the game in the pivotal third quarter as she made all three of her shot attempts, grabbed a pair of rebounds, blocked a shot and recorded a steal.
“We are counting on those three seniors to carry us offensively,” said Union coach Kory Bostic. “Lipps rebounded the ball extremely well. Her hustle and intensity provided the positive spark we needed.”
Sullivan East never led the game, falling behind by nine in the opening quarter. Hayley Grubb provided the bulk of the offense for the Patriots as she netted 15 points on 6-of-19 shooting.
Smith finished with 15 points, seven rebounds, three assists, two steals and two blocks in the win as Union advanced to Saturday’s title game.
Patrick Henry 47, Wise Central 40
In Friday’s other semifinal, junior Breanna Yarber carried Patrick Henry across the finish line in a win over two-time defending 2A state champion Central.
With the Rebels (2-0) holding a 44-40 lead with less than 40 seconds to go, Yarber stole a pass and raced the length of the floor for a layup to seal the win.
It was part of a monster night for the collegiate prospect, who finished with 20 points, 16 rebounds, eight blocks and six steals.
Central (2-1) trailed by as many as 14 points in the first half and by 10 in the fourth quarter before mounting a furious rally. Hannah Carter and Charlee Long each made a long-distance shot in the quarter, while the Warriors’ defense limited the Rebels to just 3-of-9 shooting to get back in the contest.
Yarber scored nine of her club’s 10 points in the quarter while adding five boards and three blocked shots.
Hannah Carter led Central with 15 points on 6-of-17 shooting. She added seven rebounds, two assists, two blocks and two steals.
The Warriors made just 27.7% of their field goal attempts in suffering their first defeat of the year.
Lebanon 71, Honaker 70
In consolation action, Lebanon scored a victory over county rival Honaker on a buzzer beater by Emily Musick.
Senior guard Averie Price netted 26 points in the win to lead a quartet of Pioneers (1-1) in double figures.
Honaker (0-2) took the lead with 33 seconds to go on a 3-pointer by Halle Hilton before Musick rebounded her own miss and found the bottom of the net before the buzzer.
The Tigers were led by Kyla Boyd’s team-high 25 points, while Lara McClanahan (16), Hilton (14) and Kiley Vance (11) also scored in double figures.
East Ridge 47, Lee High 35
East Ridge (Ky.) won the day’s other contest behind a 14-point, eight-rebound outing from Sarah Tackett to upend Lee High.
The Generals made just 22.8% of their field goal attempts in the loss as Pauline Tolentino was the team’s only player to score at least 10 points. The guard scored six of her 12 points in the fourth quarter, but Lee was unable to overcome a 58-40 deficit on the glass.
Honaker will play Lee tomorrow in the seventh-place game, while the fifth-place game will pit Lebanon and East Ridge. Central will square off with Sullivan East for third place.
Action gets underway at 3:45 p.m.