By RANDY CAVIN
Special to The Messenger
What looked like a mild test for the No. 2-ranked Union City girls turned into a narrow escape at Bradford.
Meanwhile, in the boys’ game, the 10th-ranked Golden Tornadoes turned a close game in the first half into a 15-point victory.
The Lady Tornadoes had things under control with a 16-point lead late into the third period, but the Lady Red Devils took UC into overtime, where Tory Reedy’s foul shot made the difference in a 45-44 win.
The Tornadoes did not have as much of a problem in their 74-59 win. The Twisters played an up-tempo game and wore down the host Red Devils in the second half.
The sweep sets up a big District 14A showdown at Lake County on Tuesday. A Lady Tornadoes’ win over the 9th-ranked Lady Falcons will give UC a two game lead in the district. Lake County beat Greenfield 45-43 in overtime on Friday but lost to Middleton 63-47 on Saturday.
Union City got a 24-point win at home over LC back on Nov. 30 and is 8-0 in the district, while Lake County is one game back with a 7-1 record.
A win for the Twister boys (12-6) against the Falcons will keep Union City in a first-place tie with Greenfield, which beat the Falcons 63-52 on Friday. Both teams are 7-1 in the district, while the Falcons are four games back in the standings.
UC 45, Bradford 44 (G)
It took a clutch free throw by Reedy to make it a two-possession game with 25.1 seconds in overtime, and the Lady Twisters (16-3) needed it to come out with the win. Bradford’s Katie Cardwell hit a 3-pointer with three seconds left, but all UC had to do was hold the ball on the inbound play to win it.
It did not look like the Lady Tornadoes were going to have any problem putting away the Lady Red Devils (6-13, 1-7) in the third period. Union City took what appeared to be a commanding 26-10 lead on a basket by Jackie Hudson with 2:20 to go in the period.
Bradford’s Hannah Renfroe hit a 3-pointer just before Hudson’s basket to make it a 14-point game. Then, Bradford reeled off three straight 3-pointers — with Morgan Martin hitting one at the buzzer — to make it a 26-19 game.
Martin hit a short jumper to start the fourth period to make an 11-point run for Bradford. Hudson gave the Lady Tornadoes some breathing room with her shot under the rim to make it 28-21.
The 3-point play was working well for Bradford in the final 10 minutes of regulation. That was the only way the Lady Red Devils could get anything going against Union City’s man-to-man defense. Martin converted a 3-point play after she was fouled, and Renfroe followed her up with a 3-point shot to make it 28-27.
Hudson reeled off four quick points on a pair of free throws and a layup to make it 32-27 with just over four minutes to play, but then another 3-pointer by Bradford made it 33-30. Bradford hit seven 3-pointers for the game — all in the second half.
Raven Fair hit a layup in transition after a Bradford turnover, and then Leah Beth Reeves made a four-point game on her drive to the basket with 47 seconds to play.
Then, the unthinkable happened as Fair took the inbound pass under Bradford’s basket, and thinking it was Union City’s end of the court, she promptly went for the layup and gave Bradford two points.
Reedy was fouled shortly afterward to and made 1-of-2 free throws to give UC a 37-34 lead with 35 seconds to play. Renfroe tied it up with another 3-pointer. Hudson was fouled and sent to the line with just a couple of ticks left but missed both shots to send it into overtime.
Kealie Reaves hit a 3-pointer to give UC a one-point lead with 2:28 to play, and then the Lady Tornadoes took over at the free throw line, where they went 4-for-8.
Both teams were sluggish in the first period. Union City only scored three points in the first stanza, while Bradford was only able to score four. The Lady Twisters’ shooting got better in the second period, scoring 14 points, and their defense continued to cause problems for Bradford. as the Lady Red Devils only scored three points in the second period.
Hudson led UC with 17 points, followed by Reedy with 15. Tamara Nettles went down with a knee injury early in the first period and did not return. She was walking under her own power after the boys’ game, but favoring her right knee.
UC 74, Bradford 59 (B)
Head coach Shane Sisco was pleased with his team’s offensive output against Bradford. However, he was not too thrilled with the defense giving up 34 points in the first half.
That defense turned it around in the second half, forcing Bradford into making some mistakes and bad shots by turning up the defensive tempo.
“I thought overall offensively we were really, really good,” Sisco said. “Defensively, I was not pleased at the half by giving up 34 points. I thought the difference in the game was in the second half with our defense.
“Fifteen minutes there in the second half until we subbed out, they only scored 17 points. They scored 25 in the half, and eight of those came with the subs. I was really pleased with our defensive effort in the second half.
The Red Devils made it a 41-38 game on a couple of quick baskets by Tyler McCartney and then Union City’s Malik Stockdale answered with a layup and 3-pointer. Stockdale scored a game-high 21 points for the Twisters.
Marcus DeBerry made it a 49-40 game on a 3-pointer with 4:44 to play in the third. He was second in scoring with 19 points.
Union City led by 10 at the end of the third period, and Stockdale made it a 12-point game on a basket in the paint to start the fourth period. Stockdale scored 10 of his 21 points in the final period.
Donte Simpson gave UC its biggest lead of the game on his transition basket after a steal to make it 65-49 with 3:05 to play. Thomas Beard ended the Tornadoes’ scoring with a 3-pointer.
UC led by four after one period, 21-17, and kept lighting up the scoreboard in the second period with 20 points but could not keep Bradford from scoring. UC led 41-34 at the half.
LeMonte Dickerson scored 13 for UC and Simpson added 11 points to give the Twisters four players in double figures. Kheric Brooks scored three points, and Khiry Lewis added two to round out the scoring.
“This has been a difficult place for us to come in at times,” Sisco said. “We have not played very well in this gym at times. We have not shot it very well in here. Tonight our kids came out on the floor and were ready to play. We have to be ready no matter the name of the team on the other jersey.”
Published in The Messenger 1.14.13