30 straight jewels in Cox’s UC crown

30 straight jewels in Cox’s UC crown
30 straight jewels in Cox’s UC crown

Union City’s Antonio Cox fights for a rebound during Friday’s win.
In the few moments after Shenisha Huff was crowned basketball homecoming queen at Union City, a similar coronation could’ve been held for Antonio Cox as homecoming hoop king.
Cox erupted for a school-record 30 consecutive points in the third quarter — making 7-of-10 3-point shots — to help the Tornadoes blow out Bradford 81-52 Friday night.
Cox, a senior guard and three-year starter, indeed put on a shooting clinic over the first 6:10 after halftime.
In addition to his perimeter marksmanship, he also converted an old-fashioned 3-point play and made 5-of-5 free throws to enter his name in the illustrious UCHS roundball annals.
Before Cox’s royal deeds, the UC girls completed the first half of a homecoming sweep, dominating the paint behind the play of freshmen Jackie Hudson and Amber Fair in a 64-56 victory over the Lady Red Devils.
The Twister (10-8, 6-2) girls avenged an earlier two-point loss to Bradford in which head coach Eddie Suiter was ejected for picking up two technical fouls and remained in second place in District 14A behind league-leading and No. 1-ranked Lake County.
Union City begins a four-game road swing on Tuesday with a game at South Fulton.
UC 81, Bradford 52 (B)
Cox scored just a single deuce on a second-quarter scoop shot in the first half of Friday’s nightcap, which the Tornadoes led 31-22 at the intermission.
He figuratively caught fire early in the third period, though, with the first two of his trifectas, then really lit up the visiting Red Devils with a stretch that included three more treys, an end-to-end bucket and the aforementioned traditional 3-point play.
He sank his final 3-pointer that accounted for the last of his consecutive markers with 1:50 left in the quarter, a shot that gave UC a commanding 61-33 lead.
“I’ve obviously never seen anything like it,” Twister head coach Shane Sisco said of Cox’s jaw-dropping offensive outburst. “He’s actually struggled all year shooting the ball, even though he’s had a few games where he’s made several 3-pointers, but certainly nothing like this.
“Hopefully, this will give him some confidence as we head into a pretty tough stretch on the road for us and some of it will rub off some of our other guys.”
For the second time in four nights, Sisco expressed pleasure in his team’s effort — noting their scrappiness on both the defensive end and after loose balls.
The Tornadoes (9-13, 6-2), who made 12 3-pointers as a team, got back-to-back longballs from Tyler Steward and LaMarcus Allen in the first period to take a 12-6 lead and never looked back. Allen opened the second frame with another trey and UC led by as many as 13 before the intermission before settling on a nine-point cushion at the break.
Sisco emptied his bench at the six-minute mark of the fourth quarter with a lead of more than 30 points and all 16 players who dressed got significant playing time with the game firmly in hand.
Steward had 13 points to join Cox in double-digits.
UC 64, Bradford 56 (G)
Fair scored 14 of her 21 points in a dead-even first half (30-all) before Hudson then dominated underneath in the second half with 17 of her team-high 24 markers for the Lady Twisters.
UC, which struggled for much of the first three quarters from the charity stripe, made foul shots when they mattered most by hitting 7-of-11 free throws in the fourth period. And on two of those misses, Hudson converted offensive rebounds into stickback buckets after the Lady Devils had closed to within five points.
“That we didn’t make a three all night tells you where we got the majority of our points,” Suiter said. “Amber’s made some from the perimeter this year, but she and Jackie really just took over inside in this one — just like we wanted to. Our free throw shooting in the fourth quarter was really critical, too.
“The thing I find most promising, though, is that we won this one strictly on playing hard. We’re still not always playing smart but, when we do stop making many of the silly mistakes we’re making while still playing hard, I really like our chances of making some noise in the tournaments.”
Kierra Davis turned in a quality effort in a reserve role for the victors, scoring 12 points — half of those down the stretch when the locals built their largest lead, 52-42.
Jacilyn Street poured in a game-high 30 points to pace Bradford.
Sports editor Mike Hutchens can be contacted by e-mail at mhutch@ucmessenger.com.

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