By KEVIN WEAKS
No pressure now. No time to relax, either.
The Union City girls already had the top seed in the upcoming District 14A Tournament wrapped up going into Friday night’s game against Greenfield.
Then, following a 64-37 win by the state’s No. 1-ranked team, the Golden Tornado boys made it a regular season championship sweep with a 70-52 verdict in the nightcap.
While the final week of the regular season is now a mere formality, the Twister teams certainly won’t look to let up with a visit to Lake County set for tonight in a make-up from Jan. 15 and then a home game against South Fulton on Thursday in another make-up.
UC’s games with Dresden on Thursday were canceled and won’t be made up.
As district champions, both Twister teams will host the opening round of the league tourney. After that, the girls’ tourney moves to South Fulton, while the four remaining boys’ teams will head to Trenton.
UC 64, Greenfield 37 (G)
The Lady Twisters started slowly, turnovers on their first two possession helping Greenfield jump out to a 6-2 lead, but Tory Reedy knocked down three 3-point baskets to get UC on track.
Union City quickly took control, pulling out to an 18-11 lead after one quarter and used a 2-3 zone look on defense to pick up the pace and stretch its lead to as many as 16 points twice late in the second frame.
Reedy finished the half with 12 points, all from behind the circle, and Jackie Hudson scored seven of her 10 points in the second period as UC took a 32-16 lead into the locker room.
“We got beat too many times off the dribble, especially in the first quarter, and that’s something we didn’t expect to have a problem with,” UC head coach Eddie Suiter said. “We had to change defenses, but when we did, I felt everybody got good and active.
“We knew we were going to switch, we just didn’t know when. We had planned to start in man and establish ball pressure, then switch to zone and extend the pressure to full court and let our guards create some chaos.”
Ashton Pence hit a 3-pointer, and both Kalee Kesterson and Brittany Peoples scored in the lane as Greenfield opened the third period with a 12-4 run to get within 36-28.
But, Reedy knocked down UC’s fifth and final trey of the night, Hudson broke toward the basket and Reedy hit all three tries at the line after being fouled on a 3-point attempt in an 84-second flurry that put the Twisters ahead 44-28 at the break.
Union City then pulled away throughout much of the fourth quarter.
Reedy led all players with 20 points, while Hudson pitched in 14. Pence, Kesterson and Peoples all had eight for the Lady Yellowjackets.
UC 70, Greenfield 52 (G)
The Tornadoes took advantage of a Yellowjacket lineup that was missing point guard Hunter Crouse due to a high ankle sprain by attacking Greenfield’s ball-handlers.
The tactic forced the ’Jackets into 20 turnovers, 12 coming in the first half as UC opened up a double-digit lead in the second frame.
“We really wanted to pressure, make certain people give the ball up and make others handle the ball, and I thought we did a good job of that,” UC head man Shane Sisco said.
The turnover difference — UC had just seven — and a 14-3 gap in offensive rebounding led to 56 field goal attempts for the Twisters, UC hitting 23-of-38 twos and 3-of-18 threes.
Led by Marcus DeBerry’s 27 points, Union City had four players in double figures. Malik Stockdale added 13, Khiry Lewis scored 11 and LaMonte Dickerson contributed 10.
Despite forcing eight turnovers in the first frame, UC led just 18-12 at the break.
The margin was in double figures at 5:27 of the second when Lewis converted a three-point play for a 25-14 lead. DeBerry closed the half with a three-point play and a triple for a 37-24 lead.
UC started the third frame by scoring the first eight points and eventually pulled out to a 22-point lead at 53-31.
Greenfield fought back, though, getting as close as 60-46 at 4:35 of the fourth on a 3-pointer by Zac Grooms. Tyler Hoke and Jeremy Lannom both made strong moves along the low post in that stretch.
“We’ve talked about finishing,” Sisco said. “We got up 22 there in the fourth quarter and then relaxed a little. Against good teams, you have to be able to put them away.”
Hoke finished with 23 points, and Robinson pitched 15 for Greenfield, which has lost four of its last six games.
Sports reporter Kevin Weaks can be contacted by email at email@example.com.
Published in The Messenger 2.4.13