By RANDY CAVIN
Special to The Messenger
The run came to an end for the South Fulton Middle School boys at the hands of an old foe.
Union City put an end to the Red Devils (winners of Area 5) season with a convincing 46-30 Saturday night in the West Sectional.
The Tornadoes (runners-up in Area 4) will play the winner of Tuesday’s Airway/Cypress game in the semifinals on Thursday at 7:30 at Martin Middle School.
South Fulton closes out a successful season with a 16-3 record. UC (14-3) is the lone boys’ team from northwest Tennessee left in the tournament after Martin (11-8) got ousted by Corry Middle School out of Memphis 52-43
The Lady Tornadoes were not as fortunate in their quarterfinal game against Martin Middle School.
The Lady Panthers (winners of Area 5) ended the Lady Twisters’ (winners of Area 4) season 44-25.
UC’s girls finish with a 10-8 record while the Lady Panthers move on with a 15-4 record and will play the winner of Monday’s quarterfinal game between Vance Middle School and Middleton Middle School on Wednesday evening at 6.
UC 46, SF 30 (B)
The Tornadoes had other plans in a game that fans from both sides expected to be a close, high-scoring game.
It looked like it was going to be that way early in the first period with both teams pushing the ball up and down the court.
The Tornadoes tied the game on Willaevion Burton’s layup after SF grabbed an early 4-2 lead and went on a 10-point run from there. Quentrail Polk ended the first frame with a basket under the hoop for a 12-4 UC lead.
Brandon Walker cut the lead in half with his layup just seconds into the second half, but that would be all the points UC would allow SF to score in the period.
The Twisters used a smothering pressure defense to keep the Red Devils off balance, create turnovers and score on fast breaks. UC went on to score 15 consecutive points with Burton scoring seven of his game-high points in the period.
The Tornadoes were up 27-6 by the time the first half came to end.
“They beat us last time we played them, and I told my guys that we need to come and meet the challenge,” UC head coach Antawn Coby said. “When a team beats you, they know they have confidence. We preach ball pressure, and nobody likes to be uncomfortable. We used ball pressure to make them feel uncomfortable.”
The Red Devils made some adjustments to the pressure in the second half and even used it themselves to try to create some points. Jyriq Jones scored on a couple of transition baskets to get SF into double-digits on the scoreboard followed by a free throw by Jalen Scott and a basket by Demarco Walker.
The Twisters closed out the third period on a basket by Jeremy Bumpus for a 38-18 lead. Bumpus scored six of his 14 points in the third period.
Red Devil head coach Wes Miller said this was a tough loss to swallow not only for him, but for his eighth-graders and to lose to their biggest rival made it even harder.
“You never want to lose your last game, but you never want to lose it like that,” Miller said. “We have not really played a big game good yet. I do not think we were tough enough tonight and we got shell-shocked. Union City did a good job and they pressured us really well.
“I told my eighth-graders that they could be part of something special if they work and stay together in high school.”
SF was led in scoring by Jones and his 13 points. Walker scored eight.
Martin 44, UC 25 (G)
Two steals turned into scores by Martin’s Tasia Jones changed to complexity of the game for the Lady Twisters in the first period after they appeared poised and ready to upset the Lady Panthers.
Union City came out with a pressure defense that caught Martin off-guard in the early going and took a quick 5-2 on a 3-pointer by Chante DeBerry.
A transition basket by Martin’s Mary Tucker, the two steals by Jones and a Jones 3-pointer after a turnover gave Martin a nine-point run and 11-5 lead after one.
The run continued on into the second frame with two more Martin triples that ended on a free throw by TyKesha Vaughn.
“Once they got those two turnovers by Jones, that will deflate any good team, and they took off from there,” Lady Tornadoes’ head coach Abby Cruce said. “Our girls could have laid down when we were down by 15, but I felt like we kept putting pressure on them.”
Even though UC turned the ball over a few times in the first half, the Lady Twisters still got shots at the basket but they could not get them to slip through the net.
“Those girls did everything I told them to do,” Cruce said. “We made all of the adjustments, but we could not get the shots to fall.”
Chynia Hyde hit the front end of a pair of free throw attempts followed by a basket from Vaughn to get UC to within 12 midway into the third period. Jordyn Greene converted a 3-point play to push Martin’s lead back up to 15. Martin closed out the third period with a 34-18 lead on a triple by Tucker.
The final period was much the same as the third with Martin hitting some shots and Union City not getting shots to fall.
DeBerry led UC with seven points with Alivia Bishop tossing in six. Vaughn scored five while Hyde added four and Eskew chipped in three. Jones and Heidi Craddock led Martin with nine points each.
Published in The Messenger 2.4.13