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Unheralded sibling proves ‘Fair’ly good for Lady Twisters

Unheralded sibling proves ‘Fair’ly good for Lady Twisters

By MIKE HUTCHENS
Messenger Sports Editor
MURFREESBORO — She was jokingly referred to as the ‘other’ Fair in the media room Thursday.
And that was alright with a smiling Raven Fair.
While considerable attention has been given to her sister, Amber, who has missed the Lady Tornadoes’ entire season with a torn ACL knee injury after earning All-State honors a year ago when she led UC to its first state tournament in the modern era, Raven has quietly carved out her own niche on this year’s team.
The pencil-thin sophomore knocked down critical 3-pointers on both the Twisters’ first possession of the game and first of the fourth quarter, finishing with eight points and no turnovers in 28 minutes of play while stepping in for injured starting point guard Kealie Reaves in what was ultimately a 45-29 win over Cloudland in the Class A quarterfinals.
While most noted for her instant offense and shooting range, Fair and her 6.1 ppg average has been equally effective at the front of Union City’s vaunted pressure defense.
She’s admittedly happy with whatever role the team needs her to fill and doesn’t try to emulate her older sister, who showcased both range and a bruising ability inside while scoring 22 ppg last year.
“I just try to do anything I can to help motivate the team,” Raven said after Thursday’s victory. “I want to raise their level of confidence, and I think we do a great job of playing off each other.
“I don’t like to be told to shoot. I just want to score when I think it will help us. I know I have to work hard on the defensive end first and the offense will take care of itself.”
The younger Fair sibling said she’s spent some time trying to encourage her sister through the difficulties of sitting out the season.
“It’s a sister thing,” Raven claimed. “We’re competitive with each other in a lot of things, but she’s been down some this year because of not getting to play.
“Some times we talk about things. There are other times, though, where I know she just needs to be left alone.”
EARLY BIRDS — While many believed the 10 a.m. tip-off for Thursday’s Union City-Cloudland game was to be blamed for the two teams’ offensive ineptness, Lady Tornado head coach Eddie Suiter had taken steps to prevent that early start time from being a factor beforehand.
UC practiced at 10 a.m. both Monday and Tuesday at UT Martin, and Suiter said in preparation of the contest that he’d taken steps several months ago to ready his troops for unconventional start times.
The Twister girls participated in a preseason play-day at Middle Tennessee Christian School in November and were involved in the 8 a.m. game — by design, according to Suiter.
“You never know when you might play if you’re fortunate enough to get this far, and I just thought it was something good to do that we might put in our memory bank,” the coach said. “I was proud that we were ready to play and played hard.
“Execution and effort aren’t the same thing. Effort, we can control, and we did.”
Union City had one more turnover (7) than field goals in Thursday’s first half and shot just 35.3 percent (6-of-17) over the first two periods that ended with them down 14-13.
The Lady Tornadoes did, however, give their usual solid effort on defense, though, holding Cloudland to 6-of-23 (26.1 percent) shooting and forcing a half-dozen floor mistakes.
THIS AND THAT — Thursday marked the 11th time that Union City has held an opponent under 30 points this season. The Lady Tornadoes are 10-1 in those games and are giving up just 29.5 ppg in tournament play. …Clarkrange’s two top scorers (Cheyenne Shaver and Britanny Cooper), both of whom averaged 16 ppg during the regular season, led the Lady Buffaloes in their 54-37 quarterfinal win over Summertown Thursday. Shaver had 17 points and pulled down eight rebounds, while Cooper recorded a double-double with 14 points and 10 boards. Clarkrange shot 52 percent in the second half while outscoring Summertown 35-23 and made 15-of-18 free throws to seal the deal. …Of the four teams remaining in the 1A field, three were ranked in the final Associated Press poll. UC was No. 1, Jackson County second and Clarkrange No. 4. Only Madison was not listed among the Top 10.

Published in The Messenger 3.8.13

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