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Rebels’ victory over Union City surely for keeps

Rebels’ victory over Union City surely for keeps
Rebels’ victory over Union City surely for keeps

Obion Central’s Nick Gilliam puts in a layup over the attempt of Union City’s Colton Speed to draw a charging foul on Saturday.
Bill Kail said he’d gladly trade Obion Central’s 73-66 overtime win over Union City Saturday for a victory over Gibson County, which the Rebels lost to the night before.
But he wasn’t about to give it back.
“It means a lot to our kids and a lot to our fans, but I just wish we’d have this kind of intensity and this type of passion in our district games — like last night,” Kail said, alluding to a nine-point defeat at the hands of the Pioneers on Friday.
“It’s a little bittersweet in that regard, but I’m happy for our kids. And it’s been a while for a fans, too. I think we’ll keep it and enjoy it for a little while.”
The Rebels beat UC in boys’ play for the first time since the 2002-03 season, breaking the Tornadoes’ nine-game winning streak in the long-running series that UC still leads — but by a narrow 54-52 margin.
Central outscored the Twisters 7-0 in overtime and got huge efforts from unheralded Tanner Noles and Tyler Barber, who combined for 35 points and all nine of the Rebs’ 3-pointers to improve to 7-3 on the season and drop Union City to 5-4.
It was business as usual in the girls’ game as OC continued its long-standing mastery over the Lady Tornadoes with a 67-52 triumph.
The Rebel girls have now beaten UC in 88 of 102 all-time meetings and in 32 of their last 33 matchups.
Chassidy Fussell continued her lights-out play for Obion Central with his sixth 30-point game of the young season, finishing with 31 markers and 17 rebounds.
A 22-6 Lady Reb flurry turned a close 38-36 game late in the third quarter into a comfortable 60-42 OC lead halfway though the fourth period.
The Central sweep in the only meeting this season between the two Obion County rivals this season followed Friday’s games that saw the Rebel teams fall to Gibson County (see related story), while UC was splitting two District 14A games with Bradford.
Central 73, UC 66, OT (B)
The Rebels rallied from a 14-point first-half deficit when they were clearly rattled by Union City’s chaotic fullcourt pressure and got huge games from not only the aforementioned Noles (18 points) and Barber (17), but also Brady Boucher inside.
Boucher finished with 11 points, 10 rebounds and huge blocked shot late in regulation that aided his team’s cause.
Noles hit two treys in the second period when Central was fighting its way back, while Barber drained three longballs in the third period and had a runout bucket in OT to cap his sparkling play. In all, Noles and Barber combined to hit 9-of-21 from beyond the arc.
UC dictated tempo for the first quarter-and-a-half with its baseline-to-baseline pressure that forced a dozen turnovers and produced a gap as large as 25-11 after 3-pointers by B.J. Marshall and Antonio Cox.
Tied at 47 with three periods in the book, the lead swapped back and forth down the stretch with Ryne Simpson carrying the Tornadoes’ load with 12 of his game-high 21 points and OC getting contributions from Brandon Smith and Nick Gilliam, among others.
Union City erased a four-point deficit and forced overtime in the final half-minute when Brandon Easley first scored, then stole an inbounds pass and fed Marshall for a tying deuce with 26 seconds to go.
Gilliam’s go-ahead driving layup was wiped off via a charge call with 5.8 ticks left, but Simpson couldn’t get a shot off at the end of regulation — forcing overtime.
In that extra session, the Rebels got buckets from Gilliam, Brandon King and Barber and a free throw by Smith, while the Twisters missed four times from 3-point land and another from in close while being shut out for four minutes.
“With the exception of the first 12 minutes, we were totally ineffective with everything we tried to do,” UC head coach Shane Sisco said. “We were not the aggressor; Obion was. The missed free throws in the first half, the turnovers and the poor shooting, they all contributed to the loss.
“The biggest thing, though, was that because we didn’t make any shots, we couldn’t set our pressure like we did early when he made some.”
UC was 6-of-28 from 3-point range, missed seven of its 15 foul shots and was guilty of 23 turnovers.
Central 67, UC 52 (G)
Kacee Eaves made back-to-back buckets to start the Lady Rebels’ telling run, and Fussell capped the surge with consecutive buckets to account for the largest difference of the contest with 3:20 to play.
Both Lady Rebel head coach Eddie Suiter and UC’s Jeff Chandler thought the action was nondescript for the most part during the county rival game.
“I thought both teams looked tired. And when we were able to get up by 10, I thought Union City looked a lot more tired than we did,” Suiter said afterwards.
“Last night (Friday) took a lot out of us, both physically and mentally, I thought. We were able to make a few shots there in the second half, though, that allowed us to get some breathing room and they just didn’t seem to have the legs to make a run at us after that.”
Chandler claimed his game plan was good and worked until Central’s telling flurry in the second half.
“We wanted to slow it down some and force somebody other than (Chassidy) Fussell to beat us,” the UC skipper explained. “We knew she’d get her 30. We wanted to see if some others could make shots. They didn’t for a while, but once you get up by nine or 10 points, it gets a little easier to take and make those shots.
“I didn’t like how we finished the game. I saw some things I didn’t like as far as effort and intensity.”
Eaves turned in a solid effort with 19 points for the winners, while Labrica Ward topped the Lady Tornadoes with 18 markers.
Both teams were minus players that affected their respective rotations as Mariah Adkins sat out for Obion Central with knee injury issues, while Chandler confirmed that Paige Fisher had left the UC squad.
Bradford 62, UC 47 (G)
The Lady Tornadoes dug themselves a 21-8 first-quarter hole before clawing to within three points down the stretch before the Red Devil girls then spurted again late to claim the District 14A victory.
Bradford outscored Union City 18-7 over the final eight minutes.
Ward tallied a team-high 17 points, while Shenisha Huff hit twin digits too, with 10.
UC 87, Bradford 46 (B)
The winless Redmen were no match for Union City in the nightcap as all 15 players to dress scored for the Twisters.
UC dominated from the opening tip, leading 29-14 after one and 49-23 at the intermission.
Both Tyler Steward-Crume and Marshall hit for 10 points apiece to pace a balanced attack for the winners.

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