Union’s JV boys put an exclamation point on the end of their season Friday night, defeating county rival Lakewood 65-64 in what Spartan coach Bryant Register called a great basketball game.
“I want to first congratulate my good friend coach Pittman and his Leopards for a hard-fought game. His kids played good basketball; in fact, I thought both teams played good ball,” Register said.
Lakewood started out on top, leading 15-8 after the first quarter.
“It didn’t look that good for us in the beginning,” Register acknowledged. “I was a little disappointed in our effort during the first quarter. It really looked like we were just going through the motions.”
In fact, Register said the Union JV played much the same way in the second period, and they trailed 30-22 heading into the half.
But the Spartans didn’t quit either, even though they were down by 10, 48-38, at the end of the third frame.
“I thought our effort was much more intense in the second half. We were playing better on offense and defense. We were getting some transition baskets, things were beginning to click.”
The Spartans dug in as the fourth quarter opened and dropped in 27 points, catching up with Lakewood and, in the end, edging them out by 1.
“I honestly believe we played as well in the fourth quarter as we have all season long,” Register said. “My guys just kept fighting and they hung in their down the stretch and dug themselves out of the hold we were in.”
Lakewood had two chances to go ahead before the buzzer but a missed free throw and a failed attempt to drive to the basket and score gave Union the victory.
“It was a good way to finish our season,” Register said. “I’m just so proud of these guys and the way they competed. And I’m just as proud of the way they have grown.”
The key to any season, Register said, is seeing improvement from a team. “I certainly saw that with this team. I can honestly say I saw them grow up tonight (Friday).”
Christian Boykin led scoring for Union with 15 points. Also scoring was Jamar Newkirk, 13; JaVonte Henry, 12; Brandon Johnson, 11; Devin Henry, 10; Jawan Newkirk, 2; and Traquan Peterson, 2.
Union’s JV ends their season at 6-14 overall and 4-10 in the Tri-County Conference.
Lakewood’s stats were not called in.