Union hosted Pender in an intense conference game Friday night. The two teams faced off in a back and forth game, which led to a Spartan win, 45-43.
The Spartans jumped out with a quick lead in the first, scoring 12 points and holding the Patriots to only 8 points. They maintained this slight lead in the second, bringing the score to 22-17 at halftime. The battle really took off in the third quarter, with the Spartans scoring 11 to the Patriots’ 9. At the start of the fourth, Union was still holding to their lead, 33-26. The only thing more intense than the game was the fans. While the boys faced off on the court, the cheerleaders and fans battled from the bleachers, making the gym deafeningly loud. With the sound of support from the crowd, both the Patriots and the Spartans battled hard in the fourth, and tied it up 41-41 with 4 minutes to go. The clock ran down, and both teams struggled finding the basket. With 16 seconds on the clock, the game was tied once again, 43-43. The Spartans were fouled, giving them the opportunity to seal the deal from the free throw line. That is exactly what they did, and left the rowdy gym with a win, 45-43.
Leading the scoring for Union was Brandon Lovette with 21 points. Assisting him in scoring was Dezmond Faison with 11 points, Jamar Newkirk with 6 points.
Spartan Head Coach Tim Pope said, “I want to congratulate Pender, they have a really athletic and outstanding team. They really got after us tonight defensively, but thankfully our guards, Brandon Lovette and Brandon Johnson, stepped up and answered the pressure by getting key turnovers. Brandon Lovette was big tonight, along with Dezmond Faison and Jamar Newkirk, at the free throw line. The gym and crowd were great tonight, they made it seem like an old time game. It was just great to get a win; the guys have really struggled this year, but they kept working and played really hard.”
The Spartans will go toe to toe with the Bulldogs at Wallace Saturday for a conference make up game.