|UC girls ride stout defense to semifinals for 2nd year |
|Posted: Thursday, March 7, 2013 7:00 pm |
By MIKE HUTCHENS
MURFREESBORO — Union City simply did what Union City does.
As a result, the Lady Tornadoes are headed to the Class 1A state semifinals for the second straight year.
Mixing a perfect blend of its suffocating trademark defense with just enough offense, No. 1 ranked UC pulled away from ninth-ranked Cloudland late in a 45-29 victory in the state quarterfinals this morning at the Murphy Center.
Winners of 20 straight now, the Lady Twisters (31-3) will face the victor of the Clarkrange-Summertown matchup at 2:30 p.m. Friday with a berth in Saturday’s Single-A championship at stake.
A 16-2 run over a 51⁄2 minute stretch after Cloudland had drawn to within 29-26 with 6:45 to play propelled Union City into Friday’s semis.
Tory Reedy and Kristian Davis each drained 3-pointers during that flurry, and the Lady Tornadoes made 9-of-9 free throws during the stretch and all 11 of their attempts from the stripe in all for the game.
“It’s who we are,” UC head coach Eddie Suiter said, noting the familiar formula for his team’s latest win. “We just seem to find a way (to win).
“Sometimes we get a key steal, sometimes it’s a power move to the basket and sometimes its making free throws. We did a little bit of all of that today — at the most critical times.”
UC forced Cloudland into six of its 15 turnovers in the fourth quarter and held the Lady Highlanders (24-12) to 23.7 percent shooting (9-of-38).
Jackie Hudson had 12 points as the only Twister girl to score in double figures, while Reedy — estimated at “about 50 percent” by Suiter after spending two nights in the hospital with a virus and losing 11 pounds — finished with eight points and a game-high 12 rebounds despite being the focus of a box-and-one defense.
After an offensively-challenged first half, the Lady Tornadoes scored on four successive possessions in the third quarter in their best stretch of the game.
Hudson powered her way to back-to-back buckets inside after Reedy made a strong move to the basket and converted a 3-point play for her first tally of the night.
Union City got an unexpected lift, too, from Kaleigh Bynum, who banked home consecutive 15-footers from out front as the locals three times led by as many as seven points after trailing by one (14-13) at the half.
Cloudland put up the final five markers of the third stanza, however, to draw within 26-24 with eight minutes to play.
The first half was anything but an artistic success, the two teams combining for the same number of turnovers as they had made-field goals (12).
UC’s biggest lead was 9-4 at the end of the first quarter after TauiNeiscia Skinner took a feed from Hudson to score inside.
The Lady Tornadoes made just 2-of-9 shots in the second period and committed four turnovers.
Cloudland finally scored on back-to-back possessions with just under two minutes to go in the half, and took its second lead (14-13) at the intermission when Rhodes scored off an inbounds play with one tick showing.
Published in The Messenger 3.7.13