|Aide Youngblood gets assist as UC ‘zones’ Devilettes out |
|Posted: Tuesday, February 15, 2011 4:22 pm |
It won’t show up in the box score, but credit Union City girls’ assistant coach Nelson Youngblood with an assist in the Lady Tornadoes’ 52-39 victory over South Fulton Monday night.
Shenisha Huff dribbles in during the Lady Twisters’ win over South Fulton on Monday night.
Youngblood suggested beforehand to UC skipper Eddie Suiter that the Twisters employ a zone defense, and the plan proved to be a good one as SF made just nine field goals for the entire game — just three in the second half — while struggling miserably with missed shots and turnovers.
“That was Coach Youngblood’s call, and I thought it was obviously a good one,” Suiter said after his team won its fourth straight and bought itself at least three more games with the opening round District 14A triumph. “He’d watched quite a bit of film on them and thought we could be successful with it.
“I’m fortunate to have two good assistant coaches with he and Abby (Cruce), and we always bounce things off each other. I thought as long as we could keep them off the offensive boards, the zone was a good idea, too, and we did that for the most part.”
Third-seeded Union City (14-10) will next play in the second of two district semifinals Thursday at Trenton against No. 2 seed Greenfield at 7:30 p.m. The Twister girls will then play for either the tourney championship or in the consolation game on Saturday and will advance to next week’s regional tournament for the first time in four years regardless of how they fare the next two games.
Shenisha Huff poured in a game-high 19 points for UC against SF on Monday in a rubber match after the two teams had split a pair of regular season games.
One of a couple of senior starters on a team that has been paced much of the season by freshmen Jackie Hudson and Amber Fair, Huff made a pair of third-quarter 3-pointers and then was a perfect 6-for-6 from the free throw line in the final 2:35.
More telling than any individual effort, though, was South Fulton’s ineffectiveness on the offensive end that included one stretch of more than 81⁄2 minutes and more than a dozen consecutive possessions without a point in the first half.
The loss brought to an immediate close the sixth-seeded Devilettes’ 2010-11 campaign, one that saw the Big Red more than double last season’s win total with a final 14-11 slate.
Paxton Sisson is the lone senior on SF’s eight-player squad.
“We’ve worked against the zone and I figured they would play one if they’ve seen the way we struggled with our shooting of late,” said South Fulton coach Curt Lee, who watched his club bow out in the district tournament for the sixth straight season.
“I thought the combination of the zone and that they just beat us to death inside was just too much. They were physical, and that’s the way tournament basketball is played. When we did make a little run there in the fourth quarter, Fair then made two plays underneath that just took all the air out of our sails.”
Despite its aforementioned offensive struggles, the Devilettes were still within 35-30 with seven minutes following a pair of Ka-Lon Martin foul shots.
Union City essentially opened up an insurmountable lead, however, by scoring eight of the next 10 points — highlighted by a hustling stickback by Fair and then an off-balance jumper on another follow-up opportunity by the talented frosh.
Book-end buckets by Kierra Davis and Hudson were also part of the flurry that opened a double-digit difference that was never again smaller than 10 points.
Hudson (12) and Davis (11) joined Huff in double figures for the winners, with Fair just a bucket away from that status.
“We’d talked before the game about needing four girls in double figures and we almost had that,” Suiter added. “We’re a much better team when that happens than when we have a couple get 20 points and the others not score much.”
Taleeah Cross topped South Fulton with 16 points, but no other Devilette had more than six.
“It was a reasonably good year, I guess, when you look at the increased number of wins and that we had basically still a really young team,” SF’s Lee added. “We now must continue to work on our individual skills so that we’ll be better able to handle situations like tonight.”
Sports editor Mike Hutchens can be contacted by e-mail at email@example.com.