UC goes streaking in a winning way past South Fulton

UC goes streaking in a winning way past South Fulton
By MIKE HUTCHENS
Messenger Sports Editor
One South Fulton streak ended against Union City Tuesday night while another lives on.
Neither was good news for the Red Devil teams.
The SF girls saw their six-game winning run end at the hands of the Lady Tornadoes, UC triumphing 49-42, while the Twister boys beat the Redmen for the 19th straight time over the last 10 seasons in a 62-49 nightcap verdict.
The double district victory completed a season sweep for Union City over its Obion County cousins and bettered both Tornado teams’ league standing.
The Twister girls are now in sole possession of second place behind No. 1-ranked Lake County, while the Tornadoes currently sit all alone atop the 14A heap after fifth-ranked LC was beaten by Humboldt 67-65 Tuesday night.
UC — which had to vacate four earlier wins due to the use of an ineligible player — is now 10-8 overall and 7-2 on the girls’ side and 13-6 and 8-1 in boys’ play.
The South Fulton girls are now 13-6 (6-3), the Red Devil boys 8-10 overall and 3-6 in the district.
UC 49, SF 42 (G)
The Lady Tornadoes built a first-half lead as big as 29-12 late when South Fulton went more than six minutes without a bucket, but had to hold on down the stretch against the gritty Devilettes, who struggled through a 32 percent (15-of-46) shooting effort.
Amber Fair led Union City with 23 points, capping a run of seven straight late in the first period that broke an 8-all tie and then hitting a 3-pointer as part of a 10-3 run that gave the Twister girls their 17-point cushion with 1:50 left in the opening half. Tory Reedy also hit from outside the arc during that second-quarter flurry before Jackie Hudson converted from in close to end the spurt.
Down 29-14 after making just six first-half field goals, SF began to methodically claw its way back into contention and inched within 11 (38-27) at the end of the third on consecutive hoops by freshman reserve MaddieKate Coffey.
Taleeah Cross, who led all scorers with 24 markers, had 11 of those in the final frame and drew the Devilettes as close as 45-40 with just under two minutes left via a pair of free throws.
The South Fulton rally ended there, though, as Fair drove strong to the bucket for a deuce and Kaleigh Bynum added another hoop over a span of 28 seconds to help UC hold on.
“I thought after the first two minutes, we kept them off the glass and held them to one shot and that was the difference in that big stretch in the first half,” Lady Tornado coach Eddie Suiter said of his team’s aforementioned 21-4 spurt. “They gave us some problems when we dribbled the ball against their press, but when we passed it, and threw over the top of it, we had some success.
“It was a big deal for us. We talked on Friday before the Bradford game had we’d let one slip away earlier when they’d beaten us at our place. Having beaten South Fulton earlier (57-41), we didn’t want to waste that by letting them come in here and turn the tables on us.”
On the other bench, Devilette skipper Curt Lee bemoaned his team’s poor shooting but not its overall effort.
“We missed some good opportunities to score there in the first half and, at the same time, they were making their shots,” he said. “You’re obviously not going to win many games by shooting 32 percent.
“I thought our effort in the second half was good, and we finally got them to playing the pace we wanted to play. We’ve shot the ball real well of late, and you knew this might be coming, but I was hoping we could come in here in a tough place to play and scratch out a one-point win. We played hard enough to, but not well enough to.”
UC’s Hudson and South Fulton’s Kalon Martin had 10 points for their respective teams.
UC 62, SF 49 (B)
A run of 10-2 in the first quarter and a spurt of 10 unanswered points early in the second half after the Devils had gotten to within six were both fueled by the Tornado defense and “hustle” plays turned in by the host team.
Those two stretches and a decided free throw line advantage were easily the most critical points in the game.
“We have to make those 50-50 plays, plays where we dive on the floor and hustle, and we did when we were able to build the lead,” Union City coach Shane Sisco said.
“I think our kids are buying into the fact that even on the nights when our offense isn’t there, we can still give ourselves a chance if we’ll just get after it on defense.”
Former Red Devil Tre Lewis — who along with his brother Khiry, transferred to UCHS last summer — had a season-high 21 points for the Tornadoes, who won their fourth straight. LaMonte Dickerson came off the bench to give the Purple and Gold a nice lift and finished with 17.
South Fulton, which trailed by as much as 46-30 at the 5:13 mark of the third quarter after Dickerson scored twice and Tre Lewis once, battled back to within six points twice midway through the fourth period on a 3-pointer by Kyle Clouse and Jordan Davis’ short jumper that made it 55-49.
But the Redmen failed to score the final 3:20 and were unable to capitalize on continued poor Union City foul shooting that saw the Twisters miss eight times from the charity stripe down the stretch and 20 of their 38 attempts in all.
“I believe it’s just a matter of confidence,” Sisco added. “It seems as if we hit them early, we hit them the whole game. When we don’t, we struggle the whole game.”
SF went to the free throw line just eight times, hitting four.
“We couldn’t get to the free throw line and that they had just four fouls in the second half with the way they play is just crazy,” Red Devil coach Wes Miller said afterward.
“But we lost by 13 points and I think if we’ll go back, there were that many points left when we didn’t block out on foul shots. I told the guys that should be the easiest time to box out. It was just a lack of effort and hustle on our part. That and the stretches we had where we just couldn’t get a shot to go down really killed us.”
Davis and Clouse had 10 points each to pace the Redmen.
Sports editor Mike Hutchens can be contacted by e-mail at mhutch@ucmessenger.com.
Published in The Messenger 1.18.12

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