|History-making UC girls not resting on laurels |
|Posted: Monday, March 5, 2012 9:07 pm |
| By KEVIN WEAKS |
Union City sure looked like a team that knew where it was going … and how to get there.
Playing the first girls’ Sectional game in school history, the Lady Tornadoes rolled right through Adamsville and on to Murfreesboro with a 70-42 win Saturday night at the UC gymnasium.
Now, the Lady Twisters are one of eight teams still standing and will continue what has become a dream season 4 p.m. Thursday against Wartburg Central (22-4) in the Class A State Tournament at the Murphy Center in Murfreesboro.
“We’ve never been there, but I don’t think our players will be scared of the situation,” said UC head coach Eddie Suiter. “We’ll go there to do our job, and that needs to be our focus. If you do your job, why should you be nervous? It’s your job, and you’ve been doing it all year, so just do your job.”
It will be the first-ever TSSAA-sanctioned state tournament appearance for the Lady Twisters (21-10), a program that is traditionally an afterthought at this time of year. In just the 5-on-5 era (since 1979-80) alone, UC is 332-526 with 10 winning seasons, 21 losing seasons and two .500 campaigns.
Suiter and his squad, however, don’t look at the past.
“These kids aren’t satisfied, and that’s the good thing,” said the third-year head coach, who also guided Obion Central to a state tournament. “Everybody outside talks about the history of the program, but not these kids. We just talk about this season. And, one thing we’ve done all year — and coach (Chuck) Reedy started this — is have the mindset that if you treat the next game like the most important game; you don’t have to get too high or too low, and the kids have done that. The next one is the most important to them. So, we didn’t have to tell them this one was the most important because it was substate. It was the most important game because it was our next opponent.”
That next opponent turned out to be no match for Union City.
Unable to stop Amber Fair, who continued her postseason scoring binge with 37 points for a total of 182 in seven tourney games, the Lady Cardinals were behind from start to finish.
In fact, when Jackie Hudson scored on the low post off an assist from Fair to make it 10-0 with 4:29 to play in the first quarter, UC’s lead was never again in single digits.
Tory Reedy opened the scoring with a 3-point shot, and Hudson followed with a 3-point play.
After four different Lady Tornado players scored in the first period, leading UC to a 16-4 lead, Fair took over in the second frame.
Pouring in 16 points, including a triple and 3-point play, and getting help inside from Kaleigh Bynum with five points, Fair led the Lady Twisters to a 38-13 lead. Those two scored all the points in a 15-0 run between 7:19 and 3:56 that had UC up 33-6.
“We never really had an answer for Fair,” Adamsville head coach Todd McGee said. “She hit shot after shot after shot. She’s a great player, and we never stopped her.”
UC, meanwhile, was able to stop Adamsville. Using an active 2-3 zone made even tougher by its quickness and length, Union City forced the Lady Cardinals outside, cut off the baseline and then collapsed to limit the visitors to just one shot. UC forced 13 turnovers in the first half.
“Anna (Moore) and Kealie (Reaves) pressured the ball and allowed our back line to make some plays, and we were able to transition into some easy buckets because of that,” Suiter said. “I like our zone because it’s not a soft zone. We take it and do a lot of things out of it. We understand how to double-team the block; we can sometime dictate which side they bring the ball up. We got better this year when Kealie picked up her intensity defense.”
Adamsville was three points better in the third quarter than it had been in the first half, but the 16-point output hardly mattered as UC countered with 15, including eight more from Fair.
“We played better in the third quarter, but we had dug ourselves such a hole and never could climb out,” McGee said. “We played better, but we never could cut into the lead. At the half, we were down by 25. And, at the end of three, we were still down about that much. They just kept going and going. It seemed like every time we did something, they had an answer, and usually that answer was get the ball to Fair.”
Nikki White and Macayla Kiddy, who led the Lady Cards with 12 and 10 points, respectively, each knocked down a couple of treys in the quarter.
But, Fair got open underneath for three layups, while Hudson and Bynum also came open on the blocks as UC did a good job of running its high-low offense. Anna Moore pitched in with a 3-pointer to open the period.
“Don’t let up,” Suiter said of his halftime message. “This is not the time for that. Earlier in the season, if you do that, you can say, ‘Hey, lesson learned.’ We didn’t want to teach any lessons tonight. We wanted to execute and do what we needed to advance. And, you don’t want to let the other team have any kind of momentum shift.”
UC pushed the lead to 30 at 59-29 with the first six points of the fourth period and led by as much as 31 late.
ADAMSVILLE — 42
Nikki White 12, Macayla Kiddy 10, Dilworth 6, K. Lloyd 4, Shelton 4, Knight 2, R. Lloyd 2, Pettit 2, Wicker, Martin, O. Johnson, A. Johnson, Wilson, McAfee.
UNION CITY — 70
Amber Fair 37, Hudson 9, Bynum 9, Reedy 8, Moore 3, R. Fair 2, Brown 2, Reaves, Davis, Alexander, Skinner.
A 4 9 16 13 — 42
UC 16 22 15 17 — 70
Records: A 20-11, UC 21-10.
Next Games: UC plays Wartburg Central in the quarterfinals of the Class A State Tournament 4 p.m. Thursday at the Murphy Center in Murfreesboro. Adamsville’s season ends.
Published in The Messenger 3.5.12