Courtside coverage by Isaiah Garrett, Union County Sports Writer
On Friday, Dec 15, the Union County Panthers took the long road trip from Blairsville to Gainesville to take on the North Hall Trojans. Unfortunately for the boys, the trip home most likely felt much longer than the ride prior to tip-off.
The Lady Panthers knew they were in for a tough battle, as they were without their star center Kait Mccarter (#30) for this game. Mccarter left some very large sneakers to fill and her absence proved to be a critical one, not only offensively but also under the bucket on defense.
No strangers to victory, the Lady Trojans recognized Mccarter’s absence immediately and took pressure toward the basket with each possession, while also rushing inside defensively to crash the boards for rebounds. The Lady Trojans were able to dominate possession of the ball and ultimately ran away with the game early.
At the half, the Lady Panthers were already down 30-19. Ultimately the Panthers lost 58-36, falling to 4-3 overall and 1-1 in Region 7-AAA, but the absence inside the box was the real loss as Union was out-rebounded 32-14. . Offensively, skilled sophomore Andelin Hill led the way in the scorebook with 7 points in the game.
For the boys game, the anxious and highly-motivated Panthers varsity started strong and were primed to win their seventh game in a row; their first in region play. However, a technical foul against senior Crawford Colwell (#24) in the first quarter resulted in an ejection, and completely changed the dynamic of the game. The Panthers’ bench would have to come together and step up to keep their perfect record alive.
Thanks to some great coaching and a collaborative will to win, the Panthers would prevail.
Union led 32-28 at the half, thanks to great hustle by the team on defense and a solid performance by sophomore Sawyer Drake (#14), who led the way with 11 points in the first half of play.
Sophomores Pierson Allison (#21) and Sawyer Drake (#14) had a combined 40 points to lead the Panthers to a 52-49 victory over the Trojans and improve to 7-0 and 2-0 in the region.
The next game will be Tuesday, Dec 19 as Union County fills the busses once again and hit the road, due south, for a non-region game against the Gilmer County Bobcats (Region 6-AAAA).
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