By KEVIN WEAKS
The Union City girls overcame their mistakes with little trouble. The Golden Tornado boys, meanwhile, came up just short in making all their hard work pay off.
UC split their Saturday night doubleheader with visiting Liberty Tech with a 62-43 win in the girls’ game and a 58-57 setback in the boys’ contest.
Lady Twister head coach Eddie Suiter was not pleased with his team’s execution on offense, despite a final point tally that marked the fourth-best of the season, and saw some flaws in an otherwise solid defense effort.
“We told the kids that if we rebounded the ball, we’d be OK,” Suiter said. “We thought that for Liberty to beat us, they’d have to be very active on the glass. They hit five threes, which was more than we expected, but we kept them off he glass for the most part. We let the point guard (Rhaven Kemp) get in the lane and create for their big kids in the second half, but we did all right on the defensive end.
“On offense, we’re just standing still too much. And, when we do that, we either turn it over or take bad shots. I thought we let them stand around and take up space all night. We’ve done that the last two games, and we’re going to have to correct that in practice.”
UC boys’ skipper Shane Sisco saw some errors, too, but found nothing wrong with how his team played. The game came down to the final play after UC battled back to tie it twice in the final 30 seconds.
“There were some mistakes made, obviously, but I thought the mistakes came because of effort, from trying to do the right thing,” Sisco said. “If you give us 30 more seconds, we probably win the game. We did some good things. That’s a good basketball team. I don’t like to lose, but when you give an effort like we gave, then at least you can take some positives from it.”
UC is off until the end of the week when both Tornado teams travel to Bradford for a pair of District 14A games. Heading into this week, the UC girls sit atop the league standings at 7-0, while the boys are tied with Greenfield at 6-1.
UC 62, Liberty 43 (G)
The Lady Tornadoes limited Liberty’s chances to score, holding the Crusaders to just 13 total field goals. UC bettered that total from two-point range alone, hitting 14 while adding six triples.
Neither team was good at the free throw line, UC connecting on just 16-of-28 and Liberty managing to hit 12-of-29.
Jackie Hudson topped all players with 19 points to lead three Union City players in double figures. Tory Reedy added 13 points, and Tamara Nettles pitched in 10.
UC built a double-digit lead in the first quarter and then shot down all Liberty attempts to come back, finally pulling away in the final period.
Reedy hit a pair of 3-pointers, and both Hudson and Raven Fair added a trey as UC pulled out to a 19-8 lead at 2:39 of the first.
Dahona Leasure, who led the Crusaders with 17 points, hit a triple and three shots at the line in the final seconds to pull Liberty within 19-14 at the break. Liberty then scored again to start the second period to get within three points but failed to score the rest of the period.
UC, meanwhile, dominated inside with two baskets from Nettles and another from Kaleigh Bynum and shot well at the line with two free throws each by Hudson and Nettles for a 29-16 lead.
Hudson capped off a strong period with a three-point play to give her team a 32-16 halftime lead.
Liberty was as close as 12 points, 43-31, early in the final period, but Union City overcame a stretch of six misses in seven chances at the line to widen the gap again, reaching its biggest advantage at 58-38 on a trey by Kristian Davis with 2:48 to play.
Liberty 58, OC 57 (B)
Daniel Hill hit the second of two free throws with 3.3 seconds to play, and then UC was unable to get off a good shot before the buzzer.
Union City tied the game twice in the final half-minute, a 3-pointer by Jamie Hyde making it 55-all and then Donte Simpson hitting from 10 feet to answer a Hill shot in the lane for a 57-all mark with 7.9 seconds to play.
LaMonte Dickerson then fouled Hill near midcourt, and UC’s two inbound passes could only produce an off-balance shot from the right side by Malik Stockdale.
“That game did not come down to one play,” Sisco said. “We missed some free throws, I think we had four turnovers to start the fourth quarter and we missed some opportunities to get defensive rebounds. At the end, we got people in the right spots and we ran the plays correctly, but we just couldn’t get the shot.”
After UC went up 23-21 on a trey by Kheric Brooks, Liberty responded with three triples at the other end — two by Justin Wilbourn and another by Landon Simmons for a 30-23 lead at 2:14.
Liberty’s biggest lead of the night came a little over a minute later at 36-24, but Marcus DeBerry hit a 28-footer at the buzzer to get the Twisters within 36-29 at the half.
DeBerry continued his hit streak after intermission, two more trey cutting the margin to 40-36, and then UC tied it up at 40-all before Liberty scored 10 of the next 12 points for a 50-42 lead early in the fourth period.
“We got down and could have folded, but we kept battling,” Sisco said. “We continued to take good shots in our offense. We didn’t force things. If we can somehow bottle this and the games we played in Kentucky, we have a good chance to have a pretty good second half of the year.”
Stockdale and DeBerry each had 15 points and Hyde added 12 for UC, while Tyler Taylor led the Crusaders with 14.
Published in The Messenger 1.7.13