|OC-UC twinbill results no shock |
That the Obion Central girls and the Union City boys are in totally different leagues has nothing to do with their respective classification assignments.
Obion Central’s Jana Roney drives to the bucket with Union City’s Allison McCullough defending during the Lady Rebels’ triumph over their county rival Saturday night.
The state-ranked Lady Rebels and UC boys easily outclassed their respective opposition in the latest chapter of their Obion County basketball rivalry Saturday night, No. 3 OC winning the opener handily 65-30, and the top-rated Tornadoes doing the same in the nightcap 81-56.
Central’s victory in Game 1 was its 31st in the last 32 meetings with the Lady Tornadoes and improved the Lady Rebels’ all-time dominance in the long-running series to 87-14.
Union City’s boys’ triumph, meanwhile, was its ninth straight over its county brethren and extended the record of the state’s lone unbeaten team in any classification to 24-0.
Both contests saw the 35-point mercy rule invoked in the fourth quarter with the clock continuously running over the final 7:30 of the boys’ game and nearly five minutes of the opener.
The two victors impressively handled their overmatched foes with dominating performances in most all phases, each leading by as many as 39 points.
Gentry Reedy put on a 3-point shooting clinic for OC in the girls’ contest, draining six treys as the Lady Rebels scored the game’s first eight points, forced 10 Union City turnovers in the first period alone and seemed to hardly miss the services of leading scorer Chassidy Fussell — who missed the game after being hospitalized with pneumonia earlier in the day.
In Game 2, the deep and athletic Tornadoes forced their trademark breakneck pace on OC, overwhelming a tiring Rebel bunch with constant pressure over the middle two frames while also making 16 3-pointers — five each by MJ Brown and Nik Brooks.
The doubleheader split — played before a near-capacity crowd at the Twister gymnasium — marks the only meeting of the two teams this season.
Central 65, UC 30 (G)
The Lady Rebels (19-2) never gave Union City a chance to pull off what would’ve been a monumental upset.
“In reality, I don’t think it would’ve mattered if we’d have played our very best, we probably couldn’t have beaten them tonight,” Lady Twister head coach Jeff Chandler said afterward. “Obion Central is an awfully talented basketball team, and there’s a reason why they’re the No. 3 team in the state in double-A.
“And with the way we lost last night (an overtime decision Friday vs. Greenfield in which UC seemingly had the game in hand late), I think there was a carryover for us. We had no energy and no intensity,”
Central capitalized on turnovers on the Lady Tornadoes’ first six possessions to get off to a quick start and led 22-6 at the first-quarter horn after Reedy knocked down a trio of 3-pointers and Jana Roney tallied three times from underneath.
Two more Gentry Reedy longballs, another by Emily McGee and a deuce from the paint by Aubrey Reedy stretched the difference to 30 points, 38-8, with still more than two minutes left before halftime.
Allison McCullough’s two 3-pointers in the third stanza were UC’s lone highlight in that frame, but the Lady Twisters made just one other field goal during the segment.
Reserves for both clubs played out the string.
“I think — for whatever reason — when we have a little adversity, everybody focuses better and we seem to play to a little higher level,” OC skipper Eddie Suiter said, referring to the absence of Fussell. “Of course, we don’t want that to be the case where something bad has to happen for us to turn it up a notch, but I do believe our other kids step up when we have somebody go down.”
Gentry Reedy ended up with a team-high 18 points with younger sister Aubrey posting a double-double with 15 points and 10 rebounds. Roney’s stat line included 11 points, eight caroms and five assists.
UC 81, Central 56 (B)
The Tornadoes were predictably relentless with their end-to-end pressure and forced a wilting but gritty OC bunch into 25 turnovers while taking over the nightcap by dominating the middle two frames.
The two clubs traded nine-point runs in the first 41/2 minutes before Cameron Callicott’s stickback put UC up for good at 11-9. Back-to-back 3-pointers by Brown and third trifecta by Brooks just before the quarter-ending horn gave the Twisters a 20-12 cushion.
Nick Gilliam scored on a pretty give-and-go and one of two Brady Boucher foul shots halved Central’s deficit early in the second before Union City essentially forced its fast-paced will on its county brethren.
Rotating capable substitutes to consistently freshen their lineup and getting two 3-pointers from Brooks and one each from Brown and Tony Wilkins, the Tornadoes outscored Central 18-6 over the last five minutes of the half to take a comfortable 42-25 lead into intermission.
A stunning dunk by Boucher in the early stages of the third period got the Rebels within a dozen (42-30), but it was the Purple and Gold who took off afterward.
Consecutive triples by B.J. Marshall ignited a deciding 29-7 flurry and removed any doubt about the outcome. Wilkins scored twice off steals, Brooks and Callicott hit from behind the line and Brown sank a three-ball and also rammed home a dunk to highlight the surge.
It was essentially over at the end of three quarters with UC up 71-37.
“Obviously, the pace and our numbers were in our favor,” Tornado head coach Shane Sisco said following the game. “We were very active in the post, too, and I thought Brandon Easley, Cameron Callicott and Ryne Simpson all played so hard and did a great job.
“When we get that type of effective play inside, it just opens things up for us on the perimeter and we were able to knock down a number of shots from out there tonight.”
On the other bench, Central skipper Bill Kail acknowledged the pace of the game was not to his liking.
“We didn’t slow the ball down and make it a halfcourt game like I would’ve liked for us to,” he said. “We missed a lot of free throws and a ton of layups and easy shots, too, and I thought the fatigue from us having to play so hard last night (Friday) against Dyersburg caught up with us as well in the second half.
“Right now, we’re not consistent in any phase of the game. And until we establish some consistency, we’re not going to beat the real good teams.”
Brown had a game-high 19 points, Brooks added 15 and Callicott 11 for the victors, while Gilliam’s 14 markers and 12 from hard-playing Matt Harner topped the Rebels. Brown also had seven steals, six assists and five rebounds, while Callicott ripped down 11 rebounds.
Sports editor Mike Hutchens can be contacted by e-mail at email@example.com.