By MIKE HUTCHENS
Messenger Sports Editor
The flu bug isn’t the only thing sweeping through the area.
Cold shooting ravaged both Union City basketball teams Tuesday night.
The Lady Tornadoes were able to ward off that plague for a 42-26 triumph over a Greenfield club that was even more affected by the same symptoms.
The UC boys were not as fortunate, however, left with a sick feeling after the Yellowjackets erased an early 10-point deficit when the Twisters made less than one-third of their shots in what was eventually a 58-48 Yellowjacket triumph.
The split left both the Union City girls and G’field boys at 6-0 in District 14A and atop their respective league standings.
The Lady Tornadoes made up for their less-than-artistic offensive effort with stellar defense to win for the ninth time in 11 games overall. UC — contesting most every pass and virtually all Greenfield shot attempts — limited the host team to just three field goals and 10 points over the first three periods.
An 11-0 third quarter that expanded the locals’ lead to 26-10 essentially decided the outcome before Tory Reedy scored 12 of her 13 points in the final frame to help the UC girls win their seventh straight.
Game 2 saw the Twisters make their first three shots and score the first 10 points before being outscored 32-15 in the middle two quarters and end up shooting 20-of-63 (31.7 percent) from the field. Included in that total was a 2-for-21 exhibition from beyond the 3-point line.
Greenfield’s Tony Robinson, meanwhile, had no such issues, lighting up Union City for a game-high 28 points — five 3-pointers included — as the ’Jackets (9-1) bounced back from their only loss of the season the night before vs. McKenzie.
Both schools will play again on Thursday night, UC at home vs. Halls in a makeup game from Dec. 7, while Greenfield visits Weakley County neighbor Westview.
UC 42, Greenfield 26 (G)
The Lady Tornadoes certainly didn’t set the world on fire offensively with just 15 first-half points when they were haunted by countless missed shots and multiple turnovers.
A physical bump-and-grind defense, however, coupled with more efficient play on the offensive end in the second half kept UC perfect in the district standings.
“I used to be really uptight about what we did offensively, but the kids have bought into the fact that if we play good defense, it’ll keep the other team from going on big runs — no matter what we do on the offensive end,” Union City head coach Eddie Suiter said afterward. “I really believe we’re going to come around offensively after Christmas and, if we do and we continue to play defense like we’re playing now, we have a chance to be a really good basketball team.”
The Twister girls got a nice lift from sophomore Kieesha Alexander, who scored a career-high 10 points off the bench.
“I told (assistant coach) Chuck (Reedy) before the game that I thought Kieesha was ready for one of those eight-point games that we needed and she did that two-better,” Suiter added. “And the big reason she got some playing time is because of the effort she gave on defense.”
Raven Fair’s 3-pointer midway through the second stanza put UC up for good, while a second Fair trey and one by Alexander were part of the aforementioned run of 11 unanswered Twister points in the third frame.
Reedy made six consecutive free throws to go along with a pair of triples in the final quarter to seal the victory.
Greenfield 58, UC 48 (B)
The Tornadoes’ fate came down to making shots — or more precisely, not.
“How many times in the last three or four years have we shot like this and it ended up costing us games?” UC head coach Shane Sisco asked rhetorically afterward. “They do such a good job in their man defense of staying between you and the basket and making you pull up and take the jump shots. We just couldn’t and didn’t knock them down.”
A Marcus Deberry triple started the Twisters’ impressive opening run before LaMonte Dickerson capped a 10-0 surge that seemingly put Union City in early control.
Undaunted and led by three-year veteran starters Robinson and Hunter Crouse (10 points) in the backcourt, Greenfield methodically battled back, forging a 25-all deadlock just before the half on Tyler Hoke’s bucket.
The ’Jackets seized the lead and never looked back just after the intermission when Robinson bottomed another of his trifectas to put the host team up 30-29. Hoke added another bucket, Jeremy Lannom scored in the post, and Robinson snatched a steal and converted it into another trey to make it 37-29 to cap a 10-2 flurry.
UC could never muster enough offense to mount a serious rally the rest of the way.
“I can’t explain why we shot so well early, and then couldn’t buy one,” Sisco added. “I thought we were very inactive on the boards, too. We talked about having to control Robinson and Crouse and we just couldn’t keep them out of the lane.”
Malik Stockdale had 11 points and Donte Simpson 10 to top the Tornado scorebook.
Sports editor Mike Hutchens can be contacted by email at email@example.com.
Published in The Messenger 12.19.12