UC denies Lady Jackets title shot
Posted: Wednesday, February 23, 2011 12:02 am
No one’s laughing anymore.
In a district already filled to the brim with talent and competition, the Union City Lady Golden Tornadoes, who are accustomed to residing near the basement, can now call themselves serious contenders in District 14-A. With a 37-32 defeat of two-seeded Greenfield Thursday night at Peabody High School in Trenton, Union City catapulted itself into the championship game – a position normally associated with the city’s boys team, but new to the Lady Tornadoes. Coming into the 14-A tournament, Union City owned a 10-point victory over the Lady Yellowjackets dating back to Dec. 17 at Union City and Greenfield won the next match-up by seven on its home court on Jan. 28.
Forcing Greenfield into uncharacteristic nervousness and shaky play in the second half of the semifinal, Union City overcame a rough first half and scored more points in the fourth quarter than in the previous three to capture the 37-32 victory.
Hot off a four-game winning streak, Union City started ice cold from the field. Jordan Galey opened the game with a three for Greenfield. The Tornadoes struggled to find the basket – even within close range – but Jackie Hudson put the first two on the board for UC after several misses. On a long inbounds pass, Anna Moore scored on a layup and gave Union City its first lead, 4-3. Critically for Greenfield, Shameilla McMullen picked up her second foul with 4:39 on the clock in the opening frame and sat for the remainder of the half. Emily Randolph picked up the slack with a 3-point play to take the lead back for Greenfield, but the Lady Tornadoes finished the first quarter with a 4-0 run and led 8-6 at the end of one.
Nisha Huff kept up the UC run going in the second with an open jumper to make the score 10-6, but the remainder of the second quarter became a Greenfield run. Sparked off the bench by Haley Rawls with five points and six from Galey, the Lady Yellowjackets recorded an 11-0 run, held Union City to the lone bucket from Huff and led somewhat comfortably, 17-10, at the half.
Fresh from a long rest, McMullen came back strong at the beginning of the third quarter and scored four straight points on aggressive drives to the basket to push the Greenfield lead to 21-10. From that point, it was all Union City, however, as the Lady Yellowjackets got bogged down in turnovers and the Lady Tornadoes finally found the range they had been missing in the first half. In a low-scoring quarter for both squads, Union City scored the final six and trailed 21-16 at the end of three.
Greenfield’s scoring drought continued into the final quarter as Kierra Davis electrified the Purple and Gold faithful with a 3-pointer to cut the GHS lead to just two, 21-19, with 6:30 on the clock.
McMullen picked up her fourth foul at the 4:28 mark. Hudson made a crucial steal and basket to tie the game with 3:42 left, but Randolph hit both free throws of a one-and-one situation – Greenfield’s first points since early in the third quarter and her first points since the first quarter – and the Lady Yellowjackets reclaimed the lead, 23-21, with 3:35 remaining.
Davis knocked down one from the line and Hudson hit both of her free throws to edge Union City ahead, 24-23. As a definite turning point, Hudson stole the ball at mid court and drove in for an uncontested layup to bump the score up to 26-23 in favor of Union City with 2:03 remaining in the game. Davis added to the lead with two free throws and the five-point advantage was suddenly cause for panic late in a contest in which both squads were struggling for points.
With 1:10 left to play, Union City entered the double bonus and Davis free throws pushed the Lady Tornado lead to 30-23. McMullen hit one free throw and Amber Fair answered by hitting a freebie for Union City, but Abby McDaniel fired up the crowd with a three and cut the lead to four, 31-27, with 45 seconds remaining. Davis hit one from the line to make it a five-point game, but Galey hit a free throw to cut the advantage to four again. Two free throws from Huff and two from Galey kept the lead at four and a McMullen layup balanced out two Davis free throws to make it a 36-32 game. One of two from the line for Fair sealed the 37-32 win and sent Union City into the championship game with Lake County.
Hudson led the Lady Golden Tornadoes with 12 points and Davis scored 11. Galey was high scorer for Greenfield with 12.
District 14-A Tournament