|UCMS boys simply the best |
|Posted: Wednesday, February 2, 2011 5:17 pm |
| DYERSBURG — What Union City Middle School boys’ coach Ronald Ward claimed was one of his team’s worst efforts of the season was still good enough to earn Area 4’s best prize on Tuesday. |
The Twisters, now 18-0, claimed the Area 4 Tournament championship with a 50-46 triumph over Fayette-East.
“We missed a lot of free throws and shots that we usually don’t,” Ward said after the triumph. “I can honestly say this was one of our worst games all year.”
Yet, Union City’s previously-documented balance and team work proved to be, according to Ward, its strongest attributes on Tuesday.
“It’s all been about the team,” Ward said, while choking back tears. “This team came together over the summer. They started watching out for each other on the court and at school. There aren’t any selfish players on this team. Tonight, they banded together at the end of the game and refused to lose.”
Union City was ahead by as many as 12 points with just a little over two minutes remaining before the Bulldogs (16-6) mounted a comeback and eventually got to within three points — at a score of 47-44 — with 60 seconds left in the game.
In the final minute, the Twisters made a trio of free throws — a pair by James Mays and one by tournament MVP Malik Stockdale with 10 seconds remaining — to seal the triumph.
Up until Fayette-East’s fourth-quarter rally, Union City had been ahead by a range of eight to 12 points for much of the second and third quarters.
The Twisters had opened the second period with a 16-2 run, limiting the Bulldogs to just a pair of free throws during the spurt, to take the lead for good.
UC, which missed its first six 3-point attempts, was efficient from long range during the second quarter’s game-changing run as Marcus Deberry — who joined Stockdale on the All-Tournament team — hit a pair of trifectas during the stretch, while Joe Wiggins bottomed one trey.
Also, Deberry had a deuce, while Stockdale put in a pair of buckets in the run.
Donte Simpson had the last point in the spurt — the front end of a pair of free throws — to put the Twisters up 22-10.
Simpson finished with a game-high 16 points, while Stockdale totaled 14 tallies and pulled down 11 rebounds. Mays was a bucket shy of twin figures with eight.
UC returns to action in the TMSAA West Sectional — which is to be hosted by Memphis Bellevue — against a to-be-determined opponent next Tuesday evening at 6.
Sports reporter Kenneth Coker can be contacted by e-mail at email@example.com.