Lady Panthers see successful season end with quarterfinal loss

Lady Panthers, TeamFYNSports
Lady Panthers

The most successful season in nearly two decades came to end for the Union Co. Lady Panthers basketball squad Tuesday, Feb. 25, with a 60-58 loss to Early Co. in the Class AA state quarterfinals in Blairsville.

Lady Panthers

Senior Andelin Hill goes up for two of her 15 points for Union Co. on Tuesday, Feb. 25.

The game and atmosphere were electric as the Region 8-AA champion Lady Panthers (23-7) and Region 1-AA champion Lady Bobcats (26-4) traded massive runs throughout fueled by a raucous crowd on both sides of the floor.

First year head coach Crystal Beach said, while not the end result the team wanted, she’s very happy with how her team performed last night and throughout the season.

Lady Panthers

Lady Panthers head coach Crystal Beach.

“I’m very proud of entire program’s effort and dedication,” Beach said. “We have the saying to get one percent better each day and every opportunity we have to get together on the floor, and they consistently did that throughout the season. A lot of our early battles helped prepare us for this postseason run, and I told the team last night that they have nothing to hang their heads about.”

Facing a 13-point deficit after a 23-8 run by Early Co. through the end of the second quarter and start of the third, the Lady Panthers could have folded.

Instead, they countered with their own 17-3 run to cut the lead to three, 39-36, at the end of three quarters.

Beach said her squad’s refusal to quit on the game exemplified the character the team has shown all season. The coach said that throughout the 2019-20 campaign, the Lady Panthers have had the motto to “go out there to play with intensity and effort, together, for four quarters.”

“I think that was living and breathing proof of our team philosophy when they (made that run),” Beach said. “It was a great thing to see. They could have just let the game keep going by, but instead they took charge.”

Lady Panthers

Senior Kait McCarter puts up a shot for Union Co. on Tuesday, Feb. 25.

The second-half resurgence was propelled by senior Andelin Hill, who scored all 15 of her points in the second half. Hill added 10 rebounds and three assists to be one of two Lady Panthers to finish the night with a double-double.

Hill scored nine of her points in the fourth quarter alone. That quarter saw two lead changes and a tie in the final two minutes, leading to a last-second play for the Lady Panthers.

Trailing 60-58 with 3.5 seconds remaining, Beach called a timeout and drew up a play for Hill.

The Lady Bobcats were expecting Hill to take the shot, and doubled her off the inbounds, forcing the pass to inside to sophomore Ava Hunter, who’s rushed attempt to get up a shot was blocked to end the game.

Hunter led the team with 19 points and 13 rebounds, to go along with two steals, an assist, and two blocks.

Senior Brooke Dockrey also scored in double-figures with 14 points to go along with five rebounds, two assists, and a steal.

Kait McCarter, also a senior, added four points, while freshman Ellie Cook and junior Kyla Locklear added three points each to round out the scoring for Union Co.

Beach said she was very grateful for the community’s support during the game and throughout the season. The gym was virtually standing-room only, and so loud at times you couldn’t hear the referees when they blew the whistle.

“Especially being my first year up here, I can’t say enough for how thankful I am that this community has welcomed me into the family,” Beach said. “People said afterward that this was by far the most people they’ve seen packed in that gym. It was huge. Any time you can get a large crowd in the tournament for a home game, it’s always an advantage.”

For more pictures from the came, click here.

Moving on! Lady Panthers advance to the Class AA quarterfinals

Lady Panthers, TeamFYNSports
Lady Panthers Quarterfinals

For the first time in nearly two decades, the Union Co. Lady Panthers are back in the Class AA state playoff quarterfinals after a dominating 61-37 win against Butler in the second round Wednesday, Feb. 19, in Blairsville.

Lady Panthers Quarterfinals

Sophomore Ava Hunter drives inside for two of her game-high 20 points Wednesday night.

As usual, Union Co. (23-6) used a high-pressure, full-court defense to spark a run early and never looked back on the way to the victory.

Head coach Crystal Beach said after the game that she felt her team is playing the best it has all season

Lady Panthers Quarterfinals

Senior Brooke Dockrey knocks down a jump shot for Union Co. on Wednesday.

“I think that we are (playing our best). Of course, as coaches, we always try to see little things we can do better,” Beach said. “But that’s what you want to happen at this point in the season. You’re playing your best ball, making the adjustment, having your team make the adjustments and execute, that’s what leads to beating great teams like we did tonight. They’re a great, great team over there. (We) have a lot of respect for them.”

With the win, the Lady Panthers secured their spot in the quarterfinals. Due to a universal coin flip made by the Georgia High School Association earlier this week, the top team in the bracket, when teams with like seedings meet, will be the home team in the quarterfinals. As such, the Region 8-AA champion Lady Panthers will be the home team when they face Region 1-AA champion Early Co. (25-4) on Tuesday, Feb. 25, at 7 p.m. The Lady Bobcats will have to make the 300-mile trip north from Blakely to take on the Lady Panthers after defeating Chattooga 64-45 in the second round Thursday, Feb. 20.

“Any time you can play at home in the state tournament is a huge deal,” Beach said of winning the coin flip. “Playing in front of a home crowd means something to our girls, and they played like that tonight.”

While the Lady Panthers started the game on a 6-0 run and never trailed, visiting Butler (19-10) went on a 6-0 run of their own at the end of the first quarter and startof the second to close the gap to 15-14 less than a minute into the second period.

Lady Panthers Quarterfinals

Senior Andelin Hill looks for options Wednesday.

Then Union Co.’s defense took over, forcing multiple turnovers and sparking the offense to a 16-2 run to end the first half.

Sophomore Ava Hunter and senior Kait McCarter each had six points in the second to lead the Lady Panthers.

Hunter finished with a game-high 20 points to go along with eight rebounds, two assists, and three steals.

McCarter finished with a double-double: 11 points and 13 rebounds.

The second half proved more of the same as the Lady Panthers, sparked by a 3-pointer from senior Andelin Hill to start the frame, stretched the run to 25-2 before Butler finally managed to get on the board and make the margin 40-18 with 4 minutes and 35 seconds left in the third.

Hill finished with 11 points, including two made 3-pointers.

Senior Brooke Dockrey scored six points in the third and finished the night with eight points overall. Dockrey added six rebounds, two assists, and two steals in the win.

Freshman Ellie Cook scored six points, all in the first half, from her starting guard role, while fellow freshman Corinne Hill managed to hit a lay-up late in the game to round out the scoring for Union Co.

For more pictures from Union Co. second-round game with Butler, click here.

 

Panthers see season end in first round of playoffs

Sports, TeamFYNSports, Union County Panthers
Panthers

Despite outscoring Douglass in the second half 31-23, the Union Co. Panthers basketball squad couldn’t overcome being outscored 26-3 in the second as they fell, 63-50 in the first round of the Class AA state tournament in Atlanta.

Panthers

Senior Sawyer Drake drives to the basket in recent action for the Panthers.

Coming in as the No. 3 seed from Region 8-AA, the Panthers (15-12) narrowly missed being either of the top two seeds after falling to Social Circle by just four points, 62-58, in the semifinals of the region tournament. The loss proved important as Douglass (20-8) is one of the stronger two seeds in the tournament. The Astros hail from Region 6-AA.

Panthers

Senior Kyle Morlock lines up a free throw in recent action for the Panthers.

The game was close early as the Panthers, led by seniors Pierson Allison, Sawyer Drake, Sawyer Brey, Kyle Morlock, and Cayden Rich, managed to keep step with the Astros to trail by just four, 14-10, after the first quarter.

But the second frame was all Astros. Union Co. managed just three points in the period as the home team put up 26 to take a 40-13 lead into halftime.

The Panthers did not go quietly, however. Led by the same superior guard play that led them to a strong showing after starting the season 3-6, Union Co. came storming back to cut the lead to 49-34 at the end of the third by outscoring Douglass 21-9 in the period.

The Panthers managed just cut the lead to 12 at 53-41 with a little less than four minutes to go, but the Astros would not be denied as they closed on a 10-9 run to preserve the first round victory.

While the loss is disappointing for the Panthers, this is the second-straight season the team has reached the state playoffs. This was also the first season with coach Corey Garrett at the helm.

The starting five will be completely different next year as Union Co. loses six seniors to graduation: Allison, Drake, Brey, Morlock, Rich, and Bryson Lariscy.

Dominating defense leads Lady Panthers to playoff win

Lady Panthers, Sports, TeamFYNSports
Defense Lady Panthers

Led by a dominating defense, the Union Co. girls basketball team controlled every phase of the game Thursday night, Feb. 13, in a 69-40 win against Therrell in the first round of the Class AA state playoffs in Blairsville.

Defense Lady Panthers

Freshman Ellie Cook goes up for a shot Thursday, Feb. 13. Cook finished with seven points in the win.

Union Co. (22-6) forced turnovers on the first four Therrell (10-11) possessions while putting together an 8-0 run on offense. They led 16-7 at the end of the first quarter and never looked back.

Sophomore Ava Hunter, who is averaging 16.6 points per game this season, scored 27 in the win, which tied for her second-highest point total in 2019-20.

Despite the entire Union Co. squad having no state playoff experience, head coach Crystal Beach said the Lady Panthers came prepared.

“They were very focused going in,” Beach said. “Emotions and energy levels are always high, but they handled it well and stepped to the floor ready to play Lady Panther basketball.”

Even though Union Co. held visiting Therrell to just seven points in the first quarter, and built a 17-point lead, 36-19, heading into halftime, Beach said the defense still has some work to do.

“There are some things we need to improve a bit (on defense),” Beach said. “The press worked for us, but we need to execute more tightly with some of the things we saw out there. We definitely did what we had to do. Therrell is a great ball-handling team, with several kids who can take it all the way, so for us to put a stop to that shows how strong and capable our defense can be.”

Along with Hunter’s 27 points, senior Kait McCarter scored 12, while dominating on the offensive and defensive glass.

Senior Andelin Hill scored nine points, including knocking down two 3-pointers in the second half to keep the game out of reach for Union Co.

Defense Lady Panthers

Senior Brooke Dockrey, left, drives into the lane Thursday, Feb. 13, in the first round of the Class AA state playoffs.

Point guard Brooke Dockrey, also a senior, scored eight points, while controlling the game’s tempo and keeping the Lady Panthers in a constant attacking mode on offense.

Those four players – Hunter, McCarter, Hill, and Dockrey – have been the core of success for the Lady Panthers this season, and Beach said she wasn’t surprised they showed up big when it mattered the most.

“That’s what you expect of them in this moment. That’s what we’ve practiced and preached all season, and that’s what you expect: stepping up when it matters most,” Beach said.

Freshman Ellie Cook, who scored the first two points of the game with a layup off the opening tip, finished the night with seven points.

Sophomore Rebekah Chambers scored six points, all in the second half, to round out the scoring for Union Co.

With the win, the Lady Panthers advanced to the second round of the Class AA state playoffs. As the No. 1 seed from Region 8-AA, they will host the winner of Bryan Co. and Butler.

Bryan Co. (22-5) is the second seed from Region 2, while Butler (18-9) is the third seed from Region 4.

Four Lady Panthers named to Region 8-AA All-Region Team

Lady Panthers, TeamFYNSports

Four members of the Union Co. Lady Panthers basketball squad have been named to the Region 8-AA All-Region Team for the 2019-20 season.

Two of the four, senior Andelin Hill and sophomore Ava Hunter, were named to the All-Region First Team for the Region 8-AA Champion Lady Panthers.

Hill averaged 9 pointers, 5.8 rebounds, 2 assists, 1.6 steals, and 1.2 blocks per game through the first 26 games of the season for the Lady Panthers (21-6).

Hunter led the team with 16.5 points, 9.3 rebounds, 1.1 assists, 1.7 steals, and 1.1 blocks per game through the team’s first 26 games.

Two of the four players were named All-Region Honorable Mention: senior Brooke Dockrey and senior Kait McCarter.

Dockrey, the team’s point guard, averaged 6.8 points, 2.5 rebounds, 3.3 assists, and 2.2 steals per game through 26 games this season.

McCarter, a starting post player, averaged 5.6 points, 7.7 rebounds, and 1 steal per game through 26 games this season.

As the top seed from Region 8-AA, the Lady Panthers are set to host Therrell (10-10), the No. 4 seed from Region 6, at 7 p.m., Thursday, Feb. 13, in the first round of the Class AA state playoffs in Blairsville.

Four

From left, sophomore Ava Hunter and senior Andelin Hill were named to the Region 8-AA All-Region First Team, while seniors Brooke Dockrey and Kait McCarter were named All-Region Honorable Mention.

Union Co. boys defeat Putnam Co. to earn third playoff seed

TeamFYNSports, Union County Panthers

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,

Union Co.

Senior Sawyer Drake throws down the dunk Monday, Feb. 10.

Feb. 10, at Rabun Co. High in Tiger.

Union Co.

Senior Sawyer Brey goes up for two of his 11 points Monday, Feb. 10.

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.

Champions! The Lady Panthers win the Region 8-AA title

Lady Panthers, TeamFYNSports
Champions Lady Panthers

For the first time since 2009, the Union Co. Lady Panthers are Region 8-AA champions after defeating Banks Co. 37-33 on Monday, Feb. 10, at Rabun Co. High in Tiger.

Champions

From left, senior Brooke Dockrey, sophomore Rebekah Chambers, sophomore Ansley Collins, and junior Kyla Locklear celebrate after winning the region title.

The Lady Panthers (21-6) were led in scoring by sophomore Ava Hunter’s 11 points, but the highlight of the game came in the final minute as senior Brooke Dockrey answered the bell on defense and sank 3-of-4 clutch free throws to seal the win for Union Co.

Dockrey came up with two steals in the game’s final minute, got fouled on each, and managed to lock up the win.

Head coach Crystal Beach, in her first season at the helm, said she wasn’t surprised by the standout performance of her senior point guard.

“You expect that of your senior commander on the court,” Beach said. “She went out and led the team with her play.”

Dockrey’s final two made free throws, which sealed the win for Union Co., can be seen below.

Things didn’t look like they would go Union Co.’s way heading into the final quarter.

After scoring a season-low 16 points in the first half, the Lady Panthers trailed by five, 31-26, heading into the fourth.

But then the defense took over.

Champions

From left, Banks Co. senior Pollie Simpson, Union Co. sophomore Ava Hunter, junior Kyla Locker, and freshman Ellie Cook, Banks Co. senior Heather Vaughn, and Union Co. senior Brooke Dockrey all take position after a shot.

With senior Andelin Hill running the top of a zone full-court press, the Lady Panthers managed to shake the Lady Leopards (14-15) and hold them to just two points in the final frame.

Hill scored twice, senior Kait McCarter once, and Hunter managed to score her final two points of the game as part of an 8-2 run to start the period.

“We’ve talked all season about focus, about paying attention to the small details, and that’s what you have to do to beat a great program like Banks Co.,” Beach said. “We knew they would go on a run at some point, and they did, but we can’t control that. We can only control ourselves.”

During the fourth-quarter run by the Lady Panthers, Hill managed to use her height and athletic ability to slap several passes back where they came from at the top of the zone press.

Beach said she expected nothing less from another senior leader on the team.

Champions

Sophomore Ava Hunter takes a jump shot Monday, Feb. 10. Hunter finished with a team-high 11 points.

“She’s a senior, and they’ve been in tough situations before, so she and the rest of the team didn’t get rattled,” Beach said of Hill and the rest of her champions.

As to what it means to be region champions in her first year as head coach, Beach said, “I’m just so proud of my girls and the way they battled. This has been a special season with the whole community behind us.”

Dockrey, McCarter, and Hill each finished with eight points, while freshman Ellie Cook added a pair of made free throws to round out the scoring for Union Co.

The Lady Panthers will face the No. 4 seed from Region 6-AA, Therrell (10-10), in the first round of the state playoffs.

Beach said she has requested that game by held at 7 p.m., Friday, Feb. 14, but hasn’t received confirmation.

No matter what day or time the game occurs, it will happen in Blairsville. As region champions, they are the No. 1 seed and will host the first round.

The 21 wins by the Lady Panthers this season are the most since the school’s state runner-up team in 2001 managed 23 wins.

Union Co. has never won a state championship in girls basketball.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8RCoLIBUWXM

Panthers earn second-straight state playoff berth

TeamFYNSports, Union County Panthers
Panthers Pierson Allison

For the second consecutive year and the fifth time in seven years, the Union Co. Panthers are headed to the Class AA state basketball playoffs.

Panthers Sawyer Brey

Senior Sawyer Brey goes up for two points Tuesday night.

Sophomore Logan Helcher drives into the lane for the Panthers.

Union Co. (14-10) defeated Elbert Co. (9-18) on Tuesday, Feb. 4, in the quarterfinals of the Region 8-AA tournament in Blairsville, 66-49.

The win earns the third-seeded Panthers a back-to-back visit to the state playoffs and a date with the second seed, Social Circle (19-6), on Thursday, at 5:30 p.m., at Rabun Co. High in Tiger.

While the game was close early, senior Pierson Allison made shot inside with 2:24 left in the first quarter gave the Panthers a 12-11 lead and they never trailed again on the way to the win.

Allison finished with game-high 23 points to lead the way for the Panthers.

While Allison was dominant early, fellow senior Sawyer Drake took over late.

Drake scored 10 of his 20 points in the fourth quarter as the Panthers ran away with the big win.

Union Co. dominated in the paint, with Allison and Drake getting to the glass at will, and senior Kyle Morlock scoring nine points from the post.

After trailing 11-10 with 2:36 left in the first quarter, the Panthers ended the first half on a 23-9 run to take a 33-20 lead into the break.

The Blue Devils never threatened in the second half as Union Co. ran away with the victory.

Sophomore Logan Helcher scored five points, sophomore Landon Kight scored four, senior Sawyer Brey scored three, and junior Kaston Hemphill added two to round out the scoring for the Panthers.

Now Union Co. will play for the opportunity to host a state playoff game.

Union Co. has lost twice this season to Social Circle, but both losses were by a combined 10 points. The Panthers fell 45-40 on Dec. 17 in Social Circle, before losing 54-49 on Jan. 21 in Blairsville.

 

Lady Panthers end drought, punch ticket back to state

Lady Panthers, TeamFYNSports
Lady Panthers

The Union Co. Lady Panthers basketball squad is back in the state playoffs.

Lady Panthers Ellie Cook

Freshman Ellie Cook goes up for two of her eight points Tuesday night.

Lady Panthers

Sophomore Riley Allison goes up for two Tuesday night in Blairsville.

After reaching the playoffs for six straight years, the Lady Panthers last saw state competition in the second round of the 2016 postseason.

That all changed last night, Tuesday, Feb. 4, as Union Co. (19-6) defeated Social Circle (3-12), 55-23, in the quarterfinals of the Region 8-AA region tournament in Blairsville.

“Obviously, it’s a huge accomplishment,” head coach Crystal Beach said of getting the team back to the state playoffs in her first year at helm of the program. “I’ve always said, teams dream of the opportunity to play for a state title, and I’m just so proud of the hard work, day-in and day-out, that these young women have poured into this program.”

The third-seeded Lady Panthers started the game on a 13-0 run and never trailed in a victory that was dominated by their overpowering full-court defense.

The Lady Panthers will now face second-seeded Putnam Co. (21-3) on Thursday, at 4 p.m., at Rabun Co. High in Tiger.

The Lady War Eagles, currently ranked fourth in Class AA, defeated Union Co. twice this season. On Jan. 18 in Eatonton, Putnam Co. won 61-45. In Blairsville on Jan. 25, Union Co. fell 58-47.

Beach said her squad must play a complete game to take down Putnam Co. and earn a home playoff game.

“They are a tough squad, and we have to play a solid four quarters,” Beach said. “I know that we are capable of beating them, but we have to be dependable for four quarters to do that.”

Lady Panthers

Senior Brooke Dockrey scored two of her 10 points Tuesday night in Blairsville.

The defense of Union Co. was the story of the game Tuesday in the quarterfinals.

The Lady Panthers held the Lady Redskins scoreless until less than 18 seconds remained in the first quarter when Social Circle finally got on the board with a pair of free throws.

That period ended with a 15-2 Union Co. advantage, and the home team continued to press. The Lady Panthers took a 41-6 lead into halftime and never looked back in the win.

Sophomore Ava Hunter scored a team-high 11 points.

Seniors Andelin Hill and Brooke Dockrey each scored 10. Freshman Ellie Cook scored eight, sophomore Riley Allison scored five, and sophomore Rebekah Chambers scored four.

Senior Kait McCarter scored three, and junior Kyla Locklear and freshman Corinne Hill each added two to round out the scoring for the Lady Panthers.

Hunter, Hill, Dockrey, Cook, and McCarter, the team’s starters, did not play in the fourth. Nor did Allison, who has played herself into being the first player off the bench for the Lady Panthers late in the season.

Pierson Allison is the TeamFYNSports Player of the Week for the Panthers!

Player of the Week, TeamFYNSports, Union County Panthers
Pierson Allison

Pierson Allison is the TeamFYNSports Player of the Week for the Union Co. Panthers!

Allison, a 6-foot-2 senior guard, helped lead the comeback for Union Co. (13-10, 8-5 Region 8-AA) against Banks Co. (21-4, 12-2) last week.

Trailing by double-digits in the first half, Allison his three straight 3-pointers to end the first half and bring the Panthers back within seven. Allison finished with 14 points as Union Co. fell, 49-39 in Blairsville on Tuesday, Jan. 28.

Union Co. is the third seed in the Region 8-AA tournament. They will host the winner of Elbert Co./Monticello in the second round Tuesday, Feb. 4, in Blairsville.

For his efforts, Allison is the TeamFYNSports Player of the Week for the Panthers!

Panthers lose battle of cats to Leopards in Blairsville

TeamFYNSports, Union County Panthers
Union Co.

Trailing by as many as 12 in the first half, the Union Co. boys basketball team closed the gap to one point in the third quarter but couldn’t come all the way back in a 49-39 loss to Banks Co. on Tuesday, Jan. 28, in Blairsville.

Union Co.

Senior Pierson Allison goes up a shot Tuesday, Jan. 28, in Blairsville. He finished with a team-high 17 points.

After the Panthers (13-10, 8-5 Region 8-AA) started the game on a 6-2 run, the Leopards (20-4, 11-2) responded with a 12-2 run of their own to take an 18-8 lead at the end of the first quarter.

Union Co.

Senior Cayden Rich looks to pass Tuesday, Jan. 28, in Blairsville.

Led by senior Pierson Allison’s 11 points in the period, including three-straight made shots from beyond the arc, the Panthers closed the gap to seven to end the first half, 29-22.

The injury bug bit Union Co. toward the end of the second, as senior Cayden Rich injured his ankle and senior Sawyer Brey left with an apparent neck injury.

While Brey returned to play in the fourth, Rich remained out the remainder of the game.

A 6-1 run to start the third quarter drew the Panthers within one at 31-30, before the teams traded baskets to end the frame with Banks Co. leading 36-32.

Junior Kaston Hemphill scored five straight for the Panthers in the fourth, and sophomore Landon Kight added a basket, but Banks Co. went 6-of-6 from the free-throw line in period on the way to the win.

Allison finished with a team-high 14 points, while Hemphill added seven in the loss.

Senior Kyle Morlock and Kight both finished with four, while seniors Sawyer Drake, Brey, and Rich each scored two.

Sophomore Landon Cox added a made free throw to round out the scoring for Union Co.

Despite the loss, the Panthers will remain the No. 3 seed headed into the Region 8-AA tournament. They will host the first round on Tuesday, Feb. 4.

Union Co. plays the final game of the regular season beginning at 7:30 p.m., Friday, against Oglethorpe Co. (4-19, 1-11) in Lexington.

Lady Panthers bounce back, earn win against Banks Co.

Lady Panthers, TeamFYNSports
Lady Panthers

With seven minutes to go in the first half Tuesday, Jan. 28, senior Brooke Dockrey hit a pair of free throws to give Union Co. a one-point lead and the Lady Panthers never trailed again during a 55-47 region win against Banks Co. in Blairsville.

Lady Panthers

Sophomore Ava Hunter puts up a shot against Banks Co. Hunter finished with a team-high 20 points in the win.

Lady Panthers

Senior Brooke Dockrey takes a jumpshot. She finished with four points in the win.

The win put the brakes on a two-game losing streak and got Union Co. back in the win column.

The Lady Panthers (18-6, 9-4 Region 8-AA) were led by sophomore Ava Hunter’s 20 points in the final regular-season home game.

Freshman Ellie Cook had one of her strongest games of the season, finishing with 11 points, including hitting a shot from beyond the arc right after Dockrey’s free throws to give Union Co. a 19-15 advantage on the Lady Leopards (10-14, 6-7).

Cook’s shot was part of a 12-1 run that blew the game open in the second quarter and led to a 26-16 Union Co. advantage at the half.

The third quarter was much the same as Union Co. opened on a 14-7 run before five-straight points from senior Andelin Hill gave the Lady Panthers a 45-23 lead.

Banks Co. managed to close the gap with eight straight points to end the third and start the fourth before senior Kait McCarter’s inside shot managed to stop the run and put the score at 47-31.

After six-straight points from Hunter, the Lady Panthers led 55-41 with 1:40 to go and head coach Crystal Beach sent in her reserve players.

The Lady Leopards continued to press in the fourth, outscoring Union Co. 11-0 during the final 3:48 to close the gap to eight before time expired.

Hill finished the night with 10 points, including two made 3-pointers. McCarter and junior Kyla Locklear each scored five points, and Dockrey finished with four to round out the scoring for Union Co.

The Lady Panthers will play the last game of the regular season Friday, Jan. 31, against Oglethorpe Co. (2-17, 0-12) in Lexington. That game is set to tip-off at 6 p.m.Banks Co.

Despite the loss to Banks Co., the Lady Panthers will remain the No. 3 seed in the Region 8-AA tournament. They will host the first round Tuesday, Feb. 4.

Kyle Morlock is the TeamFYNSports Player of the Week for the Panthers!

Player of the Week, TeamFYNSports, Union County Panthers
Kyle Morlock

Kyle Morlock is the TeamFYNSports Player of the Week for the Union Co. Panthers!

Morlock, a 6-foot-6 senior forward, had three standout performances on both ends of the floor in Region 8-AA games for Union Co. (13-9, 8-4) during the last week as the Panthers went 2-1.

Morlock started the week with nine points, including going 5-of-6 from the free-throw line, in a tough, 54-49 loss to Social Circle (18-5, 11-1) on Tuesday, Jan. 21, in Blairsville.

On Friday, Jan. 24, in Tiger, Morlock scored 13 points and played stellar defense as the Panthers ran away from Rabun Co. (8-14, 6-6) by a score of 74-47.

Morlock ended the week playing dominating defense and scoring 11 points, including a big dunk in the fourth quarter, as the Panthers took down Putnam Co. (6-16, 5-7) on Saturday, Jan. 25, in Blairsville.

For his efforts, Morlock is the TeamFYNSports Player of the Week for the Panthers!

Union Co. runs away from Putnam Co. to earn Region 8-AA win

TeamFYNSports, Union County Panthers
Region 8-AA

Led by 21 points from senior Sawyer Drake, the Union Co. boys basketball team won their second-straight Region 8-AA game by taking down Putnam Co. 59-44 on Saturday, Jan. 25, in Blairsville.

Region 8-AA

Senior Pierson Allison goes up for two of his 11 points against Putnam Co. on Saturday, Jan. 25, in Blairsville.

While the game was tight in both the first and third quarters, big runs from the Panthers (13-9, 8-4) kept the visit War Eagles at bay.

The game was dominated in the first quarter by Union Co. senior Pierson Allison, who scored eight of his 11 points in the frame as the Panthers took a narrow, 19-17 lead into the second.

In the second quarter, Putnam Co. (6-16, 5-7) had no answer for a smothering Union Co. defense that held the visitors to just six points in the frame.

Region 8-AA

Senior Kyle Morlock shoots a jumpsuit against Putnam Co. on Saturday, Jan. 25, in Blairsville. Morlock finished with 11 points in the win.

The Panthers held a 34-23 lead at the break, but the War Eagles came on strong in the third.

Putnam Co. managed to close the gap to just five points with less than two minutes left in the third before Drake took the game over on offense.

The Panthers ended the third quarter on an 8-1 run to take a 44-32 lead into the fourth quarter.

Starting with 1:09 left in the third, Drake went on a personal 11-3 run that spanned into the fourth to push the lead out of reach for Putnam Co.

Senior Kyle Morlock put an exclamation point on the lead with a big, two-handed dunk late in the fourth to put the game away.

Morlock finished with 11 points, as did Allison.

Region 8-AA

Senior Sawyer Drake sets on defense against Putnam Co. on Saturday, Jan. 25, in Blairsville. Drake finished with a game-high 21 points.

Junior Kaston Hemphill (5), senior Sawyer Brey (4), senior Cadyen Rich (4), sophomore Logan Helcher (2), and senior Bryson Lariscy (1) rounded out the scoring for Union Co.

With the win, Union Co. takes firm control of the third seed in Region 8-AA. The current region rankings are Social Circle (11-1), Banks Co. (8-2), Union Co. (8-4), Rabun Co. (6-6), Putnam Co. (5-7), Elbert Co. (4-7), Monticello (3-9), and Oglethorpe Co. (1-10).

The Panthers play their last regular-season home game Tuesday, Jan. 28, against Banks Co. (17-4, 8-2) at 7:30 p.m., before traveling to take on Oglethorpe Co. (4-18, 1-10) on Friday, Jan. 31, for the last regular-season game, also beginning at 7:30 p.m.

Union Co. lost 79-44 against Banks Co. earlier in the season, Jan. 7, in Homer.

Andelin Hill is the TeamFYNSports Player of the Week for the Lady Panthers!

Lady Panthers, Player of the Week, TeamFYNSports
Andelin Hill

Andelin Hill is the TeamFYNSports Player of the Week for the Union Co. Lady Panthers!

Hill, a senior guard, had three standout performances during the last week for No. 7 Union Co. (17-6, 8-4 Region 8-AA).

On Tuesday, Jan. 21, Hill scored six points, all in the first half, as the Lady Panthers dominated Social Circle (6-15, 3-9) by a score of 54-23 in Blairsville.

Against No. 3 Rabun Co. (21-1, 11-1) on Friday, Jan. 24, in Tiger, Hill scored 10 points, including going 5-of-6 from the free-throw line, as Union Co. lost a tough game, 72-39.

Hill finished up the week as the primary catalyst in a furious comeback effort against No. 4 Putnam Co. (20-2, 11-1) on Saturday, Jan. 25, in Blairsville. Trailing by 22 at the half, Hill scored 10 points in the third quarter as the Lady Panthers managed to cut the lead to seven before finally falling 58-47. Hill finished the game with 15 points, including going 4-of-5 from the free-throw line and draining a 3-pointer during the comeback.

For her efforts, Hill is the TeamFYNSports Player of the Week for the Lady Panthers!

 

No. 7 Union Co. comeback falls short against No. 4 Putnam Co.

Lady Panthers, TeamFYNSports
Comeback

Despite a furious second-half comeback effort, the seventh-ranked Union Co. girls basketball team fell 58-47 to No. 4 Putnam Co. on Saturday, Jan. 25, in Blairsville.

After trailing by 22 at the half, the Lady Panthers (17-6, 8-4 Region 8-AA) opened the third quarter on a 12-4 run spurred by eight points from Andelin Hill.

Union Co. managed to close the gap to seven points early in the fourth quarter but was unable to get any closer as Putnam Co. senior Jashanti Simmons scored 10 of her game-high 31 points in the period to help prevent the comeback.

Hill finished with 15 points for the Lady Panthers, including going 4-of-5 from the free-throw line, while sophomore Ava Hunter scored a team-high 16.

Free throws were a problem for the Lady Panthers on Saturday, as they went just 12-of-22 from the line in the 11-point loss.

Freshman Ellie Cook scored eight points, including two made 3-pointers, before fouling out in the fourth, while senior Kait McCarter scored six and fellow senior Brooke Dockrey added two for the Lady Panthers.

The game was tight early as Union Co. ended the first quarter trailing 20-12 to Putnam Co. (20-2, 11-1).

But the Lady War Eagles opened the second quarter on a 15-0 run and held Union Co. to just five points in the frame to take the big lead into halftime and force the Lady Panthers into the comeback effort.

Despite the loss, Union Co. remains in third place in Region 8-AA, three games back of Putnam Co. and Rabun Co., which are both 11-1, and a game up on Banks Co. (6-6).

The Lady Panthers have two games left in the regular season, and both are region games.

Union Co. hosts Banks Co. on Tuesday, Jan. 28 in the last home game of the season, before traveling to take on Oglethorpe Co. (2-17, 0-12) on Friday, Jan. 31.

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