|Familiar nemesis dooms ousted Union City boys |
|Posted: Wednesday, February 29, 2012 6:41 am |
| By MIKE HUTCHENS |
Messenger Sports Editor
Union City’s final loss of the 2011-12 season looked a lot like most of the Tornadoes’ other 10.
Plagued by continued offensive shortcomings and subpar free throw shooting, UC saw its campaign end in the Region 7 semifinals Monday night with a 53-44 loss to seventh-ranked and reigning Class 1A state champion Lake County at Trenton Peabody.
Despite the disappointment, however, the curtain closed on the Twisters with another 20-win season — the 10th in head coach Shane Sisco’s 13-year tenure — and the program’s 11th consecutive regional tournament trip.
UC’s final game of this year, though, surely resembled many of the others in which the Tornadoes came out on the short end of the stick.
A first half that saw the locals make just four field goals led to a deficit as big as 16 points late in the second period. And a foul-line exhibition in which Union City made barely half (54 percent) of its 28 attempts — including 2-of-7 in the fourth quarter when it twice got as close as four points — had many of the characteristics of the team’s other losses that numbered eight when it scored fewer than 60 points.
“I thought the fourth quarter was a microcosm of our season with our free throw shooting,” Sisco said following the season-ending defeat. “We’ve been atrocious from the foul line all year, and we knew it would probably end up costing us and it did.
“It was that and our inability to make shots from the floor.”
UC’s offensive ineptness over the first 16 minutes in which it scored just 13 points and trailed by 13 — 26-13 — at the half was critical, too, according to its coach.
“The one thing we absolutely could not do was fall behind big early and that’s what we did. Lake County gained some confidence by making some shots early, and that probably made us press a little more on offense,” said Sisco, whose club had two more turnovers (6) than made field goals in the first half.
“I thought we had the pace of the game and score where we needed it to be. We’ve told our kids all year that good defense will give you a chance in every game, and even though we played poorly on the offensive end, we played well enough on defense to still give ourselves a chance late.”
Devon Jones scored nine first-quarter points for the Falcons (21-9) and Zay Coleman knocked down a pair of 3-pointers to help LC go up by as much as 26-10 just before the intermission when Donte Simpson sank a triple for the Twisters.
And while Union City showed some grittiness to slowly crawled back into contention in the second half, it did so at a snail’s pace as both teams made a steady trek to the free throw line.
Lake County, in fact, shot 34 times from the charity stripe over the final two periods when it made just four field goals, but scored 27 points.
Mr. Basketball finalist Rafael Tyler hit on 10-of-11 tries during that time, while Ricky Boyd connected on 6-of-8 attempts.
The Twisters, meanwhile, sank 12-of-21 (57 percent), which was actually a fraction better than their season percentage.
UC’s big push came in the fourth quarter and was keyed by the play in the post of Peyton Mosley, who maneuvered his way for 10 of his team-high 16 points.
The Twisters got within 39-35 with just under five minutes showing on a Tre Lewis slash to the glass and again were within four a minute later when Mosley hit 1-of-2 foul shots.
Two missed free throws that would’ve halved that difference with 2:57 to go stopped the comeback there, though.
Lewis joined Mosley in double figures with 12 points for the Tornadoes, while Tyler topped LC and all scorers with 17 markers.
Despite the finality of the season being over, Sisco said there were positives to be taken from the campaign.
“There were a lot of questions coming into the season because of our youth and inexperience, but we got six kids a ton of playing time this year that should certainly help us next season,” he said. “This was probably as hard a working bunch in practice that we’ve ever had, and I just wish some of their practice performances would’ve carried over into games.
“I thought our four seniors (Mosley, Lewis, Chris Boucher and Nick Crumble) all gave us good things in various areas and were positive influences. It’s still disappointing any time your season ends without a championship, though, and our goals will always be high here at Union City. When we don’t reach them, there will always be an empty feeling.”
Lake County will play Humboldt — a 68-42 winner over Greenfield in Monday’s other semi — in Thursday’s championship game at 7 p.m.
Sports editor Mike Hutchens can be contacted by e-mail at email@example.com.
Published in The Messenger 2.28.12