The Hobbton Wildcats won all three games against cross-county rival Union High Friday, stealing two of them by a total of 3 points. The varsity boys won 51-50 in overtime. The JV boys got by Union 50-48, and Hobbton’s girls won their “pink” game 56-32.
The boys’ game was a barn-burner. Hobbton jumped out to a 9-6 lead that they were able to hold the whole first quarter. Union came back leading 21-18 at the half. They also led by 3, 34-31, after the third quarter. In the fourth quarter, Hobbton turned it on, outscoring Union 13-10 to tie it at 44 at the end of regulation. Hobbton took the lead with three minutes left in the third period on a bucket byJustin Armwood.
Working down in the fourth quarter, the game was tied at 36 midway the period. It was knotted again at 40 with 1:40 left in regulation. With just under a minute and a half left, Rashad Davis put the Wildcats up 42-40.
Union’s Dezmond Faison got the front end of a 1 and 1 to make it 42-41. Natrone Banks made one of two free throws to tie at 42. With 40 seconds left, Armwood hit two more to give the Wildcats a 44-42 lead. Demarius Davis tied it again as time expired in regulation.
In overtime, Arell Owens hit a 3-pointer to put Hobbton up 47-44. The Spartans answered as Faison hit from the paint to make it 47-46, Hobbton. Armwood hit two more to make it 49-46 with 1:40 left in the OT. With 1:30 left, Faison hit another one from the paint to make it 49-48. After a Hobbton turnover, Faison put the Spartans up 50-49 with 42 seconds left. After a loose ball scuffle, Hobbton got possession out of bounds with 8.3 seconds left. Owens scored with .8 seconds left to put the Wildcats up 51-50. The Spartans were unable to score again.
Hobbton coach Jeff Byrd said, “Just playing good defense. I have told them the whole time just keep it where we can make some strikes at it. We had a few shots fall. In the last three ball games we have probably played the best we have played. I keep telling them nobody cares how you start, it’s how you finish. Maybe we can finish strong.”
Union coach Tim Pope said, “It was a great county rivalry. It was a good inter-county game. Both teams played hard. Hobbton just made more plays down the stretch than we did. I think they might have wanted it a little more than we did. Give them all the credit, they outplayed us down the stretch.”
The Wildcats had a balanced scoring attack with Owens leading the way with 13 points. Rashad Davis, Jonathan Faison and Donald Farrior had 9 each. Armwood had 8.
For Union, Faison led with 21 points. Natrone Banks and Brandon Lovette had 9 each, and Demarius Davis had 8.
In the girls’ game, it was Hobbton all the way. They jumped out to a 16-2 lead in the first quarter and led 31-11 at the half. They were up 38-21 after three with the final being 56-32. Coach Alphonso Hooper played his whole bench at some point during the game.
Leading the Wildcats was Michaela Wilson with 18 points, 6 rebounds and 5 steals. Sasha Martin added 14 points, 6 assist and 5 steals. Casey Hobbs had 8 points, 10 rebounds and 5 blocked shots.Taylor Bowden had 4 steals and Shavonia Bell had 3 blocks and 7 rebounds.fd
About his girls, Hooper said, “I would like to thank everyone that came out for the first “pink” basketball. I want to thank everyone who came out and for the support. I would also like to thank Mrs. (Janet) Hobbs for buying our uniforms. The school came together for us and everybody showed their support. We are just trying to get the word out about cancer. It affects everybody whether you have it or not. We want this to be an annual event and get bigger and better next year.
“First time we played Union we didn’t have Sasha Martin. We knew coming in that they were going to play triangle-and-two on us. We have seen it two or three time and I told the girls to just relax and run the offense. Casey Hobbs played big for us. It was an exciting night for us because it was another conference win for us.”
In the JV game, Union led most of the way except where it counted. They were up 11-3 after the first quarter and 25-17 at the half. They had an 8-point lead at 38-30 after the third quarter. Hobbton came back and tied it at 43 with 2:50 left. It was tied again at 46 with 33 seconds left. Christian Boykin gave Union the lead again with one of two foul shots. Gregory Herring made a layup for the Wildcats with 16 seconds left to make it 48-47. With 6.3 seconds left, a loose ball out of bounds gave the Wildcats a chance to widen the margin. With 4.5 seconds left, Jawan Newkirk hit 1 of 2 free throws to tie it at 48. Quan Faison put Hobbton up 49-48 with 1 of 2 free throws. Gregory Herring put the final points up on 1 of 2 free throws with 1.9 seconds left.
Hooper said, “My guys had a nice win. We have been playing hard all year long. We won two ball games early in the year. Then, some of the guys got frustrated. I told the to keep playing hard and stay in it and start with defense. The first time we played them we pressed. This time we went man-to-man and that gave them some problems. Then we started getting the ball inside to Hunter Britt. He is just a kid, 13 or 14 years, but he is going to be a ball player. The sky is the limit for him. He scored a lot of points inside for us. My crowd kept playing scrappy hard defense. And, defense was the key. Gregory Herring and Tyja Grey had good games as well. We didn’t give and we played hard.”
Union coach Bryant Register said, “I would like to congratulate Coach Hooper and the Wildcats on a great win tonight. Their kids played extremely hard, especially in the fourth quarter. They made a run at and got a lot of momentum and they were hard to stop. I’m pleased with our first three quarters but we just didn’t do a good job of finishing the game. In the fourth quarter, Hobbton wanted it worse than we did. Our effort in the fourth quarter was disappointing. Shooting 5 of 21 at the free throw line hurts you, too. We will go back to work Monday and get ready for Wallace on Tuesday.”