The Union Spartans played host to the Hobbton Wildcats in Friday night’s high school basketball action. The Spartan JV and varsity boys got wins while the Hobbton girls took one away from Union. The JV final was 36-34, Union; the girls was 37-26, Hobbton; and the Union’s boys won 53-31.
Union coach Bryant Register said, “I can’t stand many of those. I want to congratulate Coach (Alphonso) Hooper and the Wildcats on a great game. I can’t say enough about how hard his kids played. They battled us all night long. I am proud of our guys on the win, too. I thought we showed a lot of mental toughness at the end. We started out a little slow but we picked it up a little bit in the second and third quarters. A few times I thought we could get a little separation between us and Hobbton but they kept coming back. We have to give Coach Hooper a lot of credit. They came in with a good game plan and fought us hard. It was a good win to start the new year. We still have a lot of work to do to get ready for a good Wallace team on Tuesday.”
Hobbton Coach Alfonso Hooper said, “The first half we came out a little flat. We probably missed 10 layups the first half. We have to get the easy shots around the basket. I have to hand it to Union, they came out storming the first half. In the second half, we started pressing them a little and that started giving the some trouble. I am proud of my team. They never gave up.”
Carter Spearman led the scoring for Union with 11. Christian Boykin chipped in 10 while Brandon Johnson contributed 6.
For Hobbton, Tyja Gray had 10, Quan Faison hit 8 and Gregory Herring rounded out the scoring with 7.
Lady Wildcats win
The girls’ game started slowly. The combined score for both teams for the first quarter was only 7 points. Union was up 4-3 after one and they held the lead through the second and third quarters before Hobbton came alive. Casey Hobbs put the Wildcats up 23-22 with 6:51 left in the game. From there onward, it was all Hobbton although Union pulled back to a 4-point game at one point.
Hooper said, “This was a good win for us. The first half, we were a little sluggish. One of our leading scorers was out of town. That showed in the first half. She does a lot for us. I told the girl at the half to keep fighting. It all about somebody stepping up. Finally Michaela Wilson got hot getting 23 points and 10 steals. Casey Hobbs had a double-double with 12 points and 13 rebounds. The biggest thing tonight is that our girls showed a lot of character. They played hard and didn’t let one player get them down. I told them adversity is all about somebody stepping up. Its always good to get a win at Union because this is where I grew up. We changed the defense in the fourth quarter and Michaela was able to get some easy baskets. When we turned the pressure up that led to some turnovers and easy baskets. We are 2-1 in conference play and have to get ready for Trask Tuesday.”
Union coach John English said, “We came out flat. The girls played like they weren’t ready to play. I feel we lost to a team we shouldn’t have lost to. When you come out flat, that’s what is going to happen. In the fourth quarter, we to a “man to man” defense and they didn’t cover their man. We had them down and let the back in the game with the easy baskets.”
For Union, Nadyna McKinzie had 11 points and Jamine Becton had 6.
In the night cap, it was Union all the way. The Spartans jumped out to a 13-6 lead in the first quarter and never looked back.
Union coach Tim Pope said, “That wasn’t the prettiest game in the world but our effort was good. Defensively, we get after and are active. We are not the best offensive team but defensively, we play pretty good. Brandon Lovett got us started out pretty good in the first quarter. Hobbton tried to take Natrone (Banks) away from us and Lovett was big for us. He had 11 first quarter points and finished with 20. It was a good win to go 3-0 in the conference.”
Banks had 10 points and DeMorris Davis had 9 points and 2 dunks.
Wildcat coach Jeff Byrd said, “Until we cane find a way to put it in the basket, we are going to struggle. Defensively, I thought we played pretty good; but, we just missed too many easy shots.”
Jonathan Faison led the Wildcat effort with 11 points.