By KEVIN WEAKS
Union City will be clocking in a little early on Thursday.
The plan for the Lady Tornadoes is to work three more days.
UC will make one more business trip in the 2011-12 basketball season, heading to the Murphy Center on the Middle Tennessee State campus in Murfreesboro. The work day begins at 4 p.m. Thursday against Wartburg.
It has been a businesslike approach, according to head coach Eddie Suiter, that has the Lady Twisters three wins away from a Class A state championship.
“We just want it to be about the next game,” Suiter said. “We’ve talked all year about doing your job. If your job is to be a defensive player and rebounder, then that’s all you have to worry about.
“And, it’s the coaches’ job to get information on the other team and get our team prepared. So, we’re all just in the business of doing our job right now.”
Someone else doing work for the Lady Twisters has been Shane Sisco, the boys’ coach with two state championships in the UC trophy case.
“He has probably worked harder on scouting our opponents than we have,” Suiter said of Sisco. “He’s watched potential second- and third-rounders and matchups. As a coaching staff, we can’t look ahead. But, in a tournament where you’ll hopefully play three games in three days, you need that information. He’s been willing to do anything we’ve needed.”
In Wartburg, the Twisters will see a team that runs a motion offense and shoots 3-pointers.
Sarah Davidson, a 5-9 senior, tops the team in scoring with 14.5 points a game, while Kellie Kidd has moved from the two-guard to the point and averages 10 points a game while shooting 40 percent on 3-point attempts.
Madison Laughter, a 6-1 junior post player, is primarily a shot-blocker and rebounder, pulling down nearly nine boards a game, and 5-10 freshman Victoria Hamby is probably the best player off the bench with 10 points and six rebounds a game. Nina Carter is another freshman who provides depth and some numbers with five points and five boards a game, while junior Hayley Hurtt has scoring potential beyond the 3-point mark.
Lady Bulldog head coach Jason Davis had to alter his team’s style somewhat in February when regular point guard Tori Phillips, a senior, went down with a knee injury. Shortening his bench and slowing the pace, Davis has seen his team adapt well. Wartburg has reeled off 15 straight wins, including seven in the postseason.
UC, meanwhile, has won 14 of its 17 games since flipping the calendar to 2012.
Perhaps the two biggest factors behind the team’s run have been the emergence of Kealie Reaves as a capable defender on the perimeter along side Anna Moore and the fine-tuning of Tory Reedy’s role. A transfer from Gibson County who missed four games before Christmas with an injury, Reedy has defined her role as that of a point forward who sets up the offense, shoots 3-pointers and bangs inside for rebounds.
Amber Fair is the undisputed scorer, as her 728 points will attest, while Jackie Hudson is a big-number threat any night, her 34 points against Hopkinsville, Ky., at Murray proof of that.
Late in the season, Suiter saw all the elements come together. In the final game of the regular season, UC defeated ninth-ranked Dresden 52-39.
“I remember the kids getting ready for Dresden coming to our place,” Suiter said. “We hadn’t played them in a long time, they beat us by 20 (50-30) at their place and they had that top 10 ranking. We don’t talk a lot about that stuff, but we mentioned it to see how they’d respond. They’d played hard in games before that and since then, but that was a game where we looked in their eyes and saw that they really wanted to compete. I think we’ve going that way ever since.”
Published in The Messenger 3.7.12