By MIKE HUTCHENS
Messenger Sports Editor
After making a huge splash with their first-ever state ranking last week, the Union City girls’ basketball program made even bigger waves Monday.
The Lady Tornadoes penned more program history by earning the No. 1 spot in the Class 1A Associated Press Top 10 in the latest statewide balloting of writers and broadcasters.
UC (16-3) replaced Jackson County (15-3) atop the Single-A listing after JC was beaten handily by then-sixth-ranked Clarkrange 64-48 Friday. The win propelled Clarkrange (16-4) to No. 3 in this week’s poll.
“It was not our goal to be the No. 1 ranked team in the state in January. It was our goal to be the No. 1 team in the district, and right now, we are,” Union City head coach Eddie Suiter said of his team’s newest notoriety. “Our focus will continue to be on district play. Everything else will take care of itself.
“We’ll continue to look at the big picture. When I first took this job, I told the girls that we would build a successful program. I didn’t say a ‘successful team.’ It was my goal and my intentions still are for there not to be big drop-offs from year to year and that Union City puts a quality product on the floor every season.”
The Lady Tornadoes collected eight first-place votes and 163 total points to grab the No. 1 spot ahead of Cosby (16-2), which moved up to second after being third in the initial poll of the year. Cosby received four first-place nods — the same as Clarkrange — but had three more total points (150) than the Buffaloes.
Lake County (10-2), which hosts UC tonight, dropped one place from ninth to 10th in the new listing.
The Lady Falcons lost to Middleton 63-47 on Saturday after beating Greenfield 46-43 in overtime Friday.
Union City barely survived its only test last week, beating Bradford 45-44 in overtime.
It was admittedly not the Lady Twisters’ best effort, prompting Suiter to say: “We certainly didn’t look like a Top 10 team Friday night.”
The win was a costly one as well for the locals as starting forward Tamara Nettles suffered a major knee injury and could be lost for the remainder of the season. Nettles is to be further evaluated today.
Suiter also confirmed that Kieesha Alexander, who’d played as both a starter and reserve this year, was no longer a part of the team.
The Union City boys’ team (12-6) remained at No. 10 in the Class 1A poll this week, while the Obion Central girls dropped out of the Class 2A Top 10.
The Tornadoes won at Bradford 74-59 in their only outing of last week. UC received 26 total points.
A tough week that features District 14A games at Lake County tonight and at home vs. Humboldt on Friday awaits the Tornadoes.
Obion Central’s Lady Rebels (16-6) dropped its third straight game last Tuesday — to Covington 59-53 — before halting that skid by rallying for a 52-44 win at Gibson County on Friday.
OC had been tied for ninth in the rankings.
Westview (18-2) rose one spot to third in the girls’ Top 10, while Covington stayed at No. 7.
The Covington boys (16-3) are up two to No. 5 in 2A, with Jackson South Side still second.
Dyer County, which bested previously-unbeaten Charleston, Mo., (93-76) and Harrisburg, Ill., (76-68) in the Penny Hardaway Classic, is now sixth in Class 3A at 18-1.
A complete listing can be found on page 9.
Sports editor Mike Hutchens can be contacted by email at email@example.com.
Published in The Messenger 1.15.13