By KEVIN WEAKS
See you in Trenton.
Union City and South Fulton will take their rivalry to Peabody for the third meeting between the two girls’ teams, both earning a spot in the District 14A Tournament semifinals after wins at home on Tuesday night.
The Lady Tornadoes overcame a slow start and pulled away on an offensive outburst by freshman Kealie Reaves for a 68-40 win over Halls, while the Red Devilettes outmuscled Humboldt for a 48-37 win.
The third meeting — UC won both times in the regular season — will take place 7:30 p.m. Thursday at Trenton as the tournament gets back on schedule following Monday’s weather-related postponements.
Both teams are now guaranteed three more postseason games, including the first round of the Region 7A Tournament next week. Thursday’s game does carry some significance, though, as the winner advances to the championship game and will later host the first round of the regional tourney.
The other semifinal game, tipping off at 6 p.m., has No. 1-ranked Lake County playing Bradford.
UC 68, Halls 40
Reaves turned the third quarter into a personal highlight reel, going on a one-person 11-3 run against the Lady Tigers after Halls had opened the period with a basket to get within 30-23.
The freshman guard knocked down three 3-point baskets, two from the right corner and one from the left, and took a Lady Tiger turnover the other way for a layup as UC widened its lead to 45-25 with 3:05 to play in the third.
Reaves and Amber Fair then finished off Halls, each hitting a triple in the fourth quarter, as Union City built its biggest lead at 32 points, 68-36, with 1:33 remaining in the game.
Fair and Reaves finished as the game’s top scorers with 20 and 18 points, respectively, while Kaleigh Bynum came off the bench to score 10 for UC.
Pleased with the outcome, Lady Twister head coach Eddie Suiter wishes his team hadn’t waited so long to get going.
“We don’t need to wait until the third quarter to start playing,” he said. “Some things on the defensive end, like intensity and effort, need to be more consistent.”
UC consistently struggled with holding on to the ball in the first quarter, suffering six turnovers and trailing by three points on four occasions. The Lady Tornadoes stayed in the game thanks to eight giveaways by Halls and scored the final eight points of the period, going ahead 17-12 on Anna Moore’s triple with four seconds to play.
Union City extended its lead to 21-14 early in the second, but then saw Halls put up seven straight to tie the game with 3:35 to play in the half. It was all Tornadoes from that point, though, as nine straight tallies put the home team up 30-21 at the half.
Ineisha Claybrooks scored 12 and Mollie Houston added 11 for the Tigers.
SF 48, Humboldt 37
Taleeah Cross led three Red Devilettes in double figures with 16 points and led her team to a place it has not been in awhile as South Fulton pushed its way into the semifinals of the district tournament after six straight years of frustration.
“It’s been a little dry spell getting over this hump, so it’s a relief for me, our school and our program,” SF head coach Curt Lee said. “Our girls are over that hump now and in the region, and you never know what can happen when you get there. I’m awful proud of them. I told them they’ve already had a great season, and now they’ve rewarded themselves.”
SF advanced by getting physical with a physical team and slowing the tempo to limit the Lady Vikings’ chances to attack the basket.
“I thought our kids got out of their comfort zone, which was to get inside, fight and wrestle for rebounds and keep them from getting to the rim,” Lee said. “We weren’t pressing to limit the number of opportunities they would have to get to the rim. I thought it was important for us to make them earn every shot and every offensive rebound they got. So, as the game went on, that kept the tempo where it needed to be. In a game like this one, a 10-point lead was like 15 or 20 in a game where you’re pressing.”
The Devilettes led 22-14 at the half, getting four players involved in the scoring and holding Humboldt without a field goal in the second quarter.
Cross and Kalon Martin each had six points, while both Sydney Easterwood and Cori Jo Edmison added five apiece.
South Fulton built the lead to as many as 13 at 32-19 on a Martin putback with 3:53 to play in the third quarter, and Humboldt could get no closer than nine points the rest of the way. SF’s lead was back to 13, 47-34, at 1:10 in the fourth when Cross, who scored 10 of her points in the second half, drove through the lane.
Martin had 14 points and Edmison 10 for SF, while Ashley Brown totaled 11 for the Lady Vikes.
Published in The Messenger 2.15.12