|UC outcome doesn’t equal stellar effort |
|Posted: Wednesday, February 22, 2012 6:42 am |
| By KEVIN WEAKS |
Union City had the effort but not always the execution.
The Lady Tornadoes matched No. 1-ranked and top-seeded Lake County for 32 minutes but simply could not finish on enough possessions and ultimately let the Lady Falcons off the hook with a 51-46 win in the District 14A Tournament championship game Saturday night at Trenton.
“I was proud of the effort,” UC head coach Eddie Suiter said. “But, we just didn’t make some makeable plays early.
“We did not do a good job handling their press the last time we played, but we really handled it tonight and gave ourselves some scoring opportunities that we didn’t capitalize on. But, we took a step forward.”
The next step for Suiter and Union City will be one back home. As the No. 2 team from 14A, the Lady Twisters will host District 13A’s third-place team, Big Sandy, Thursday night in the quarterfinals of the Region 7A Tournament.
Big Sandy defeated Gleason 39-36 in the 13A championship game on Saturday. Gleason will travel to Lake County for the regional quarterfinals.
Suiter looks forward to be back in familiar surroundings with the season on the line.
“We’re excited to be playing at home,” he said. This is two years in a row to host the region, and it’s big. You don’t have to get on a bus, you don’t have to take off from school. If our crowd gets behind us like we hope they will, they can be very vocal and boisterous. Hopefully, they’re going to show up for us. They have nearly a week to get their bodies painted, get fired up and all that stuff, get their chants ready. We look forward to seeing them on Thursday night.”
Union City came close to carrying the title of District Champion into the regional tournament. The Lady Tornadoes scored the game’s first five points and then battled back when Lake County appeared poised to pull away, even taking back the lead in the third quarter.
But, Lake County hit a big shot time and again, while UC couldn’t answer when it mattered most.
Amber Fair scored on a putback, and Anna Moore knocked down a 3-point basket for a quick 5-0 UC lead. Lake County quickly responded with nine straight points but could never put away Union City.
Lake County’s T.T. Flowers scored nine points in the opening period, reaching 2,000 points for her career in the process, and Carnation Hart added six points in the quarter.
Hart added six more points in the second, but after LC took an early 19-10 lead, the Lady Twisters cut the difference to three points twice and trailed just 27-22 at the half.
Jackie Hudson scored in the lane at 4:29 to get the Lady Tornadoes within 19-16, and then Kaleigh Bynum scored from underneath to make it a 21-18 game at 3:51 to play in the second frame.
Fair and Tory Reedy both had six points, and Hudson added five in the first half to keep Union City close.
LC’s winning edge, though, was in its pure numbers.
With UC’s 2-3 zone defense shutting out both Flowers and Hart, Tiana Gray hit two of the biggest shots of the night.
Fair hit a 3-pointer and converted a 3-point play to put Union City ahead 28-27 at 6:32 of the third period.
But, Gray answered with back-to-back 3-pointers, and Brooke Horton followed with a triple of her own to push the Lady Falcons out to a 36-28 advantage with 4:50 to play in the third.
“They have playmakers,” Suiter noted. “Gray made only two field goals on the night, and they were possibly two of the biggest shots made all night. Those are big shots for them. They have kids who can make plays. We do, too, but we have to work a little harder to find ours sometimes.”
Union City came back to within two points, 37-35, on a layup by Bynum with 3:23 to play in the quarter, but UC then missed four 3-pointers in the fourth as Lake County was stretching the gap back to eight points.
Fair hit two triples late in the quarter, but Hart answered UC buckets three times and scored eight points overall in the final period to hold off the Lady Twisters.
Hart led all players with 20 points, and Flowers finished with 13 despite being shut out the entire second half. Fair totaled 20 points. Published in The Messenger 2.20.12