|Lady Twisters fall prey to bad shooting bug |
Union City’s reign as District 14A girls’ basketball champions will come to an end in five days after the locals dropped a play-in game Friday night.
Union City’s Micah Warford shovels forward a shot during her team’s loss Friday night at Greenfield.
The Lady Twisters, who won their first district crown since 1949 a year ago, were eliminated from the league’s postseason fray after a 47-30 defeat at Greenfield.
The loss snaps a two-year streak of playing in the district championship game for the young UC team and girls’ head coach Jeff Chandler.
This season, Union City fielded a team that boasted only three seniors and three juniors with four sophomores and seven freshmen sporting the Purple and Gold.
And Chandler is hopeful that the experience on the court this season will give his 2008-09 basketball squad a jumpstart on the competition.
“Undoubtedly, we were extremely young this season and I think that will translate well next year,” Chandler said after the loss. “Looking ahead to next year, we’ll have nearly everybody back and what these girls do between now and November will determine if the difference between being a 10-win team or a 20-win team next season.”
In Friday’s season-ending loss, bad shots and misfires on good looks to the rim were among a list of culprits that ultimately led to Union City’s demise.
For starters, UC mustered just a pair of Doreal Strayhorn buckets in the opening quarter.
Meanwhile, the Lady Yellowjackets (7-17) were powered by a 3-point basket each by Mallory Robinson and Katie McCall.
“We took a lot of ill-advised shots tonight,” Chandler admitted. “Early on, we missed some shots that we should have made and we just never got into a real rhythm from the field.
“Meanwhile, Greenfield made their free throws and their shots when they had to and that’s the difference in this ball game.”
The Lady Twisters (6-21) inched closer, bettering G’field 13-10 in the second quarter to trail 24-17 at intermission.
In that second period, Mary Steward swished a trey with seven seconds remaining and the senior added an additional bucket with teammate Brittney Mitchell good for an old-fashioned 3-point play with just under a minute remaining in the half.
Micah Warford also was responsible for a bucket and free throw earlier in the second with Strayhorn rounding out the locals’ scoring summary in the period with a lone 2-pointer.
The third period went in favor of Greenfield 9-6 with the locals unable to sink a 2-point field goal. Whittney Smith and Mitchell sank a trifecta each to account for all of the UC points in the third.
In the fourth quarter, Chandler was whistled for a technical midway through when frustration with the officials got the best of him.
After a foul call on Mitchell, the Union City skipper got T-ed up after a lengthy argument with referee David Hawks during a timeout.
Katie McCall sank one of the two free throws and just prior to the automatic Lady Yellowjackets’ possession, Mitchell — who led the Lady Twisters with 10 points on the night — was whistled herself for a technical.
“I’ll admit that I got upset there at the end,” Chandler said. “Basically, I didn’t think the officials were calling the game like they had for the first three quarters at that point in the game.”
The loss was the last game in a Union City girls’ basketball uniform for Steward, Allison McCullough and Janea Brooks.
Chandler lauded Steward for “being my example of hard work and dedication,” McCullough for her “defensive skills and three years of service as a starter” and Brooks for “working her way through an injury early in the season and being able to give us some minutes late in the season.”
Sports reporter Kenneth Coker can be contacted by e-mail at email@example.com.