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Refusal of UC gifts is good for locals

Refusal of UC gifts is good for locals
Refusal of UC gifts is good for locals

Union City’s Labrica Ward guards Camille Cooper during the Lady Twisters’ 48-47 victory on Friday.
Both Union City teams literally tried to give away games Friday against Gleason.
Fortunately for the Tornadoes, neither was successful.
The UC girls blew all of a 15-point halftime lead before Micah Warford made the second of two free throws with four seconds left to lift the Twisters to a 48-47 victory in the opener.
The Tornado boys, meanwhile, dug themselves a 15-point second quarter hole after head coach Shane Sisco had yanked his starters and most of his top reserves for lack of intensity. Ultimately, though, a run of 22 straight markers and a scoreless drought of nearly eight minutes by Gleason allowed UC to post an 82-56 victory.
The District 14A sweep left the Union City girls at 4-2 in league play and the Twister boys at 5-1.
The Lady Tornadoes — now 7-4 overall — were beaten on Saturday in the opening round of the Kentucky Machine and Engineering Classic at Trigg County (Ky.), losing to Hancock County 61-57. UC will continue play in the tourney this morning against Fulton County, then will play again to close out the event on Tuesday.
The Union City boys will play a single game tonight at 6 at home vs. Haywood in their final pre-Christmas game.
Union City 48, Gleason 47 (G)
The Lady Tornadoes were impressive in the first two periods when they built a seemingly-commanding 34-19 advantage by forcing a quicker tempo that was not to Gleason’s liking.
Shenisha Huff’s 3-pointer and seven straight markers by Labrica Ward to close the second quarter gave UC the second of its two 15-point cushions at the intermission.
Poor shot selection, a lack of patience and five missed free throws in the fourth quarter by the Twister girls left the door open for a Gleason rall,y though. In all, Union City made just five field goals over the final two frames and scored just 14 points in the last 16 minutes.
The visitors made it all the way back when Sara Hensley made the first of two free throws with 12 seconds left to knot the score at 47.
After Hensley missed her second charity, UC rushed upcourt with the rebound and found Warford underneath the goal, where she was hacked.
Warford misfired on her first attempt but then calmly sank what was the game-winner.
A last-second Gleason heave was not close.
“I think there have been a couple of times over the last two or three years when we should have beaten them and didn’t. This time, it was our turn, and we were able to sneak out with a win,” UC head coach Jeff Chandler said.
“We wanted to patient in the second half and work the ball inside like we did at Dresden when we came back and won with a similar plan. But we jacked up four straight 3-pointers for some reason in the third quarter and essentially just let them back in the ballgame. We got a little rattled there late, too.”
Ward ended up with a game-high 18 pointers for the winners, while Warford pitched in 11.
Chandler confirmed after Friday’s game a second player in as many weeks, Courtney House, had elected to leave the team.
Union City 82, Gleason 56 (B)
A dissatisfied Sisco went deep into his bench — a move that allowed the Bulldogs to build a 31-16 lead with two minutes left in the first half after the visitors had scored 18 of 21 points.
The Tornadoes began their aforementioned game-changing flurry in the final 90 seconds of the second period, though, a pair of K.J. Brooks buckets closing the gap to 31-25 at the intermission.
A modified lineup that included just one starter — sophomore guard Tyler Steward-Crume — and included Brooks, Josh Battee, Antonio Cox and Kendhal Warren opened the second half with considerably more energy and continued a run that overtook Gleason.
Warren had two hoops in the first 1:19 to tie the score and a stickback deuce by Brooks gave UC a lead at 33-31 it would not lose. A Cox 3-pointer and Ryne Simpson’s hoop capped the 22-point run.
From then on, Sisco sprinkled in some of his starters and the Tornadoes gradually pulled away.
Cox had 10 of his 16 points — a pair of treys included — in the fourth quarter and B.J. Marshall rammed home a dunk in the late going to punctuate the otherwise nondescript performance.
“Again, we played well about 10 minutes and that’s something that’s been common in just about every one of our games,” Sisco said. “It’s the main reason we’ve lost four games, too. Mentally, we just can’t seem to focus for 32 minutes.
“We’ve questioned just how important it is to this bunch. I don’t know if they’ve gotten spoiled or it’s a lack or leadership of what. What I do know is that these seniors have to understand that these younger kids are looking to them, and if they don’t play with passion and enthusiasm, the young ones won’t either.”
Simpson led UC and all scorers with 18 points while Battee gave the Tornadoes a third double-figure scorer with 10.
Sisco’s bench was one player short as Zack Cavness has elected to leave the program, the coach said afterward.
Sports editor Mike Hutchens can be contacted by e-mail at

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