|Twister boys on right path; Union City gals spin wheels |
|Posted: Wednesday, February 2, 2011 5:17 pm |
Don’t look now, but the Union City boys appear to be rounding into typical late-season form.
Union City’s Tyler Steward eyes the rim during Tuesday’s triumph over Lake County.
On the flip-side, the Tornado girls seem to be in the midst of a free-fall.
UC’s teams continued to head in opposite directions on Tuesday night, the Twisters winning for the sixth time in their last eight games with an impressive 75-56 triumph over Lake County.
The Union City girls, though, lost their fourth straight in a 70-39 blowout setback vs. the second-ranked Lady Falcons.
Victors of 20 or more games in seven consecutive seasons heading into the current campaign, the Tornadoes — having played a rigorous schedule vs. larger non-district competition that led to a subpar record — improved to 12-14 overall by beating LC for the second time in three meetings Tuesday.
More importantly, Union City is now 9-3 in District 14A play and, with a victory at Halls Friday, would assure itself of no worse than a third-place regular season league finish with a runnerup spot behind Humboldt a possibility.
A 25-5 third-quarter blitz broke open a tight game at the half for the Twisters and was highlighted by LaMarcus Allen scoring 11 of his game-high 25 points, with Russ Smith hitting for eight of his 12 markers during UC’s dominating and telling stretch.
In the girls’ opener, the Lady Tornadoes (10-12, 6-6) hardly resembled a team that was at one time 8-6 overall and in second place behind Lake County in the 14A standings.
Falcon star guard T.T. Flowers nearly beat UC by herself, exploding for 38 points — many on uncontested drives to the bucket — against a Twister club that had little fight.
The contest was the last regular season home game for Union City, which honored senior players from both teams and cheerleaders in between-game ceremonies.
UC 75, Lake Co. 56 (B)
Just as critical as the offensive exploits of Allen and Smith in the third period was the defense and rebounding of the Tornadoes, who limited LC to but a single Rafeal Tyler field goal and five total points during a telling eight-minute stretch.
“The difference in the third quarter was that we limited their penetration and didn’t let them have second chances with offensive rebounds,” UC head coach Shane Sisco said. “When you make them a jump-shooting team and stop them from driving to the basket, they are a much different club.”
Allen, who scored the Twisters’ first 10 points with a trio of 3-pointers and a single free throw, accounted for five of his team’s nine trifectas in all. Antonio Cox, who finished just behind his teammate for scoring honors with 21 points and hit some key foul shots down the stretch, made Union City’s other four treys.
Smith sank a 12-footer from the lane and then converted a stickback with good boardwork underneath to ignite a 14-2 burst to start the second half for the Tornadoes.
The Falcons (14-10, 10-3) never got closer than 67-55 late in the contest — that after UC had lost much of its momentum by spreading the floor and milking time off the clock rather than continuing to attack.
“No doubt, we’ve improved defensively over the last three or four games,” Sisco added. “We’ve become more efficient on the offensive end, running our halfcourt sets and passing the basketball.
“It all starts with defense, though. If we’re not good defensively, we will struggle.”
Tyler led Lake County with 19 points.
Lake Co. 70, Union City 39 (G)
With no answer for the cat-quick Flowers, and on the heels of a similar 31-point rout at the hands of district-leading Lake County, UC head coach Eddie Suiter could find little good to say about his team’s performance.
“The lack of guts and desire to win is what we showed tonight,” the disgusted skipper claimed afterward. “You don’t have to have a lot of basketball sense to put forth effort. It’s one thing to give up wide-open layups because teams are beating your pressure, but just to basically not guard someone is something entirely different.
“I do think we’ve regressed. Right now, we should be game-planning for other teams. Instead, we’re trying to find seven or eight girls to give us good, consistent effort every night out. It’s frustrating.”
Flowers matched UC’s first half output — 22 points — and outscored the locals herself 7-6 in the third period.
The Twisters were guilty of countless turnovers, many of them unforced.
Shenisha Huff was the lone Union City player in double figures with 13 markers.
Sports editor Mike Hutchens can be contacted by e-mail at email@example.com.