Led by 22 points from senior Sawyer Drake, the Union Co. boys basketball team defeated Putnam Co. 69-49 in the Region 8-AA third-place game Monday,
Feb. 10, at Rabun Co. High in Tiger.
With the win, the Panthers (15-11) secured the No. 3 seed in the Class AA state playoffs. They will face the No. 2 seed from Region 6-AA, Douglass, Atlanta (19-8) in the first round.
While Union Co. started Monday’s game against Putnam Co. on a 12-0 run, the War Eagles (9-19) battled back with a 14-5 run of their own to cut the Panthers’ lead to 17-14 at the end of the first.
Union Co. blew the game open in the second, sparked by a dunk from Drake and five made free throw from sophomore Logan Helcher. Drake was fouled on his dunk and made the free throw. The senior hit another shot with 7.2 seconds left in the first half to put Union CO. up 36-27 at the break.
The Panthers got into the bonus early in both halves and ended the night going 27-37 from the free-throw line in the win.
The third quarter was all Union Co. as the Panthers went on a 15-5 run in the frame to put the lead at 51-32.
The fourth quarter was much the same as Drake score seven points before exiting the game with a little less than four minutes left.
Senior Sawyer Brey finished with 11 points, fellow senior Kyle Morlock scored eight, and Pierson Allison, also a senior, scored seven.
Senior Cayden Rich and Helcher scored five each, sophomore Landon Kight scored four, junior Kaston Hemphill added three, and both senior Bryson Lariscy and sophomore Landon Cox added two to round out the scoring for Union Co.
The day and time of the Panthers first-round matchup with Douglass has yet to be determined, but the game will take place in Atlanta.