Union County releases football game-day guidelines

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The Union County panthers have released their guidelines for the upcoming football season.

These guidleines are straight from Union County high school and are as follows:

  • Tickets will be $7. All GHSA official passes and press passes will be allowed.
  • There will be no restrictions on stadium seating.
  • There will be designated seating areas for students and the band. This will be approximately half of the stadium which will reduce spectator seating capacity.
  • Social distancing and mask wearing is encouraged. Signs will be posted and announcements will be made periodically throughout the contest to encourage safe health practices.
  • We are working to keep both of our communities safe from the threat of COVID-19. Spectators are encouraged to self screen before arrival to the event. If you have a fever over 100.0 or have any symptoms we ask that you please stay home.
  • Please help us protect our communities by following these safe health practices:
  1. Stay at home if you are sick, have a fever, cough, or difficulty breathing.
  2. Practice social distancing between family groups.
  3. Wear a mask.
  4. Cover your cough or sneeze.
  5. Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
  6. Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.

Thank you for working with Union County Schools to ensure a successful football season.

  • No fans will be allowed to enter the playing field before, after, or during the event. (The only exception is a parent escorting for homecoming or senior night)
  • Under Georgia law, the Union County School District and all agents assume no liability for any injury or death attributed to COVID-19. You are assuming the risk for entering any and all events.

Concessions will be available at the event.

Pre-packed food will be served.

All concessions workers will be wearing gloves and masks.


Union Co. baseball falls to Gilmer in Blairsville

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Gilmer Union Co.

The Gilmer baseball team took the lead in the top of the fifth and held on late in a 3-2 win against Union Co. on Wednesday, March 11, in Blairsville.

Union Co. vs. Gilmer

Gilmer junior Gabe Wolfson smacks a double. Wolfson finished the game 2-for-4 with three RBIs.

The Bobcats (3-10, 0-3 Region 6-4A) were led by Gabe Wolfson at the plate. The junior went 2-for-4 on the day and drove in all three runs for Gilmer.

Five different players had hits for the Panthers (4-8, 1-3 Region 8-AA), with senior Carter Wright and junior JJ Littles driving in a run each.

Gilmer was the first to get on the board, scoring a run in the top of the first inning.

Sophomore Blake Zabala singled to second base to start the inning for the Bobcats. He advanced to second base after a sacrifice from Jess Buckner and then scored on a line-drive double to centerfield from Wolfson to put the score at 1-0.

Union Co. junior shortstop Isaak Mullinack got the Panthers out of the inning with an unassisted double play on a line drive from Gilmer junior Jake Rhodes.

The Panthers tied the game at 1-1 in the bottom of the second inning.

After back-to-back one-out singles from junior Damien Chitwood and senior Alec Youngblood, Little managed to hit a ground ball to short stop. The Bobcats turned the double play to end the inning, but not before Chitwood crossed home plate to tie the game.

Gilmer took the lead for good in the top of the fifth thanks to another double from Wolfson.

Union Co. vs. Gilmer

Union Co. senior Carter Wright sets up on defense.

Junior Ashton White drew a walk to start the inning. After an infield pop-out from senior Sam Davis, Zabala followed with the second Gilmer walk of the inning.

A sacrifice from Buckner moved the runners to second and third just in time for Wolfson to step to the plate.

Facing a 1-1 count, Wolfson smacked a line drive into center field, scoring both White and Zabala.

Rhodes drew another walk and sophomore Spencer Merritt reached on an error to give the Bobcats bases loaded with two outs, but Littles managed to get Gilmer senior Tyler Wright to ground out to first base to end the inning.

Trailing 3-1, the Panthers managed to score once in the bottom of the sixth.

Mullinack drew a five-pitch walk to start the inning. He advanced to second base on a wild pitch and then scored on a line-drive single to left field from Wright to put the Panthers within one at 3-2. But that was as close as Union Co. managed to get as the final inning was scoreless from both sides.

Up next for the Panthers is a doubleheader at region foe Monticello beginning at 5 p.m., Friday, March 13.

Gilmer’s next game is also a region contest against Pickens beginning at 5:30 p.m., Tuesday, March 17, in Jasper.

Panthers soccer team earns narrow win against Banks.

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Union Co. Panthers soccer

A single goal from senior David Van Pelt proved to be the difference Monday, March 9, as the Union Co. Panthers soccer team earned a narrow, 1-0, victory against region foe Banks Co. in Blairsville.

Union Co. Panthers soccer

Senior David Van Pelt handles the ball in recent action for the Panthers.

The Panthers (6-1, 3-0 Region 8-AA) had multiple opportunities to score early as junior Zach Jackson narrowly missed a pair of shots and sophomore Kyler Robbins missed a long shot and slipped a header just slightly over the crossbar.

Junior Malachi Patrick also narrowly missed a header early for the Panthers.

Union Co. next visits non-region foe Murray Co. at 7 p.m., today, Tuesday, March 10, before taking on region opponent Elbert Co. at 7:30 p.m., Friday, March 13, in Blairsville.


Union Co. girls soccer wins 3-0 against Banks

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Union Co. Lady Panthers soccer

The Union Co. girls soccer team took the lead in the 26th minute and and never trailed in a 3-0 win against Banks Co. on Monday, March 9, in Blairsville.

Union Co. Lady Panthers

Senior Mattison Ruff kicks the ball for the Lady Panthers.

Senior Desaray Patterson scored the first goal for the Lady Panthers (2-2-1, 2-1 Region 8-AA) to give them the 1-0 lead.

Keeper Sadie Underwood managed to preserve the lead in the final seconds of the first half with a great save off a Banks Co. breakaway.

Patterson scored her second goal of the game on a free kick from the left side of the box early in the second half to lead the way for the Lady Panthers.

Fellow senior Mattison Ruff scored the third goal for the Lady Panthers in the 76th minute to push the score to the final tally of 3-0.

The Lady Panthers soccer squad plays again today, Tuesday, March 10, beginning at 5 p.m. at Murray Co. They finish up the week Friday, March 13, with a home region match against Elbert Co. beginning at 5:30 p.m.


Union Co. baseball drops pair to Social Circle

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Union Co. baseball

The Union Co. baseball team had a tough time Monday, March 9, in a doubleheader against region-foe Social Circle in Blairsville.

The Panthers (4-7, 1-3 Region 8-AA) lost game one 8-2 before dropping the nightcap 10-5 to the Redskins (3-6, 2-2).

Union Co. baseball Matthew Kelley

Matthew Kelley smacks a ball into the outfield for Union Co.

Social Circle scored early and often against the Panthers in the first baseball game. The Redskins plated five in the first, one in the second, and two in the third and held a 8-0 lead heading into the bottom of the sixth.

Union Co. finally got on the board in the bottom half of the sixth, thanks to a pair of RBIs from Carter Wright and Cayden Rich.

Wright, a senior, put Union Co. on the board with a sacrifice fly to center field with one out that scored fellow senior John Mancuso.

Rich, also a senior, drove in the Panthers’ second run of the day with an 0-1 count and two outs. He smacked a line drive to right field that scored junior Isaak Mullinack, but that was all the damage the Panthers could do in the inning to leave the tally at the final score of 8-2.

Mancuso finished the game 2-for-4 with a double and a run scored, while Rich finished 2-for-3 with an RBI.

Junior Damien Chitwood and senior Alec Youngblood each added a hit in the loss for the Panthers.

Union Co. baseball John Mancuso

John Mancuso sets to swing for the Panthers.

Game two was much the same as the first, as the Redskins scored eight unanswered runs through the first four-and-a-half innings before the Panthers could answer in the bottom of the fifth.

Trialing 8-0, Union Co. managed to cut the lead in half with four runs in the bottom of the frame.

After Youngblood doubled to left field to start the inning, senior Matthew Kelley drew a one-out walk to put two on base.

Mancuso hit a ground ball to third with a full count, and an error by the Social Circle third baseman allowed him to reach and Youngblood to score from second base for the Panthers first run of the game.

After an infield pop-out to second base by Mullinack, Wright singled with a line drive to center field that scored Kelley.

Junior Hunter Loyd smacked a ground ball to third and reached base on an error to give the Panthers bases loaded with two outs.

On the next at-bat, junior Zeke Swartz drove the first baseball he saw into left field. The single scored Mancuso and Wright and cut the lead to 8-4.

Union Co. baseball Alec Youngblood

Alec Youngblood waits on a pitch for Union Co.

After holding Social Circle scoreless in the top of the sixth, Union Co. managed to score another run in the bottom of the frame thanks to an RBI ground out from Mullinack that scored Kelley with two outs that cut the lead to 8-5.

The Redskins scored twice in the top of the seventh to put them up 10-5 and the Panthers couldn’t rally in the bottom of the inning to end the game.

Wright went 2-for-4 with an RBI and a run scored in game two, while Youngblood went 2-for-3 with a double and a run scored.

Mullinack added a hit and an RBI, Swartz had a hit and two RBIs, while Chitwood and junior JJ Little each tallied a hit in the loss.

The Panthers are set to take on Gilmer at. 5 p.m. today, Tuesday, March 10, before heading to Monticello for a doubleheader beginning at 5 p.m., Friday, March 13.

The Union Co. boys track team placed second at Murphy

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Panthers Track

The Union County boys track team placed second in the second meet of the season Wednesday, March 4, at Murphy.

The Panthers scored a team total of 93 points, good enough for second behind Murphy’s 151.5 points, and ahead of Andrews’ 47.5 points and Tri-County Early College’s five points.

In the 400-meter dash, Thomas Mellendorf took first place with a time of 54.2, while Hunter Hartzog was second at 54.5.

In the 300-meter hurdles, Elliot Stepps was first in 46.9 seconds, while Trevor Guild placed second.

Zion Ross took first place in the 200-meter dash with a time of 23.8 seconds.

Ross, Mellendorf, Hartzog, and Jonah Green took the top spot in the 4X400 meter relay with a time of 3 minutes, 46.5 seconds.

The team of Nathan Cobb, Brady Guild, Luke Gambrell, and Guild placed third in the event at 4:03.4.

In the 4X800 meter relay, the team of Gambrell, Mellendorf, Hartzog, and Lawson Harkins placed second with a school-record time of 8:51.5.

Kyle Smith, in the 110-meter hurdles, placed third with a time of 21.3 seconds.

In the 4X200 relay, the team of Sloan Sutton, Stepps, Smith, and Kyle Morlock placed second with a time of 1:39.

Morlock, Sutton, Ross, and Riley Thomas placed third in the 4X100 relay with a time of 47.5 seconds.

Gambrell placed third in the 800-meter with a time of 2:16.4.

In the 3,200, Devin Gasaway with third with a time of 13:31.8.

Morlock also placed second in the discuss with a throw of 104 feet, 8 inches.

In the high jump, Green placed third with a leap of 5-foot-6.

The Panthers will next compete in a meet at Riverside Military Academy beginning at 4:15 p.m., Tuesday, March 10.

Lady Panthers track team wins meet at Murphy

UCHS Track
Lady Panthers track

The Union County girls track team took first place in the second meet of the season Wednesday, March 4, at Murphy.

The Lady Panthers scored 93 points to take the top spot, followed by Murphy with 82 points, Andrews with 63 points, Hiwassee Dam with 40 points, and Tri-County Early College with 19 points.

In the most impressive achievement of the day, the 4X800 meter relay team of Evelyn McBride, Allie Brey, Hana Gregory, and Zoe Sanchez placed first with a school-record time of 11 minutes, 17.8 seconds.

Sanchez also placed first in the 1,600-meter with a time of 5:44.2.

In the 400-meter, Brey placed first with a time of 1:09, while Gregory placed second at 1:10.1.

Gregory also placed second in the 800-meter with a time of 2:51.4, while Sanchez was third at 2:53.

In the 200-meter dash, Lexi Sisum took the top spot with a time of 29.4 seconds.

With a time of 16:22.7, Rachel Reid placed first, while Ketelynn Rash placed second at 16:41.9, in the 3,200.

In the 4X400 relay, the team of Sanchez, McBride, Gregory, and Brey placed second with a time of 4:51.2.

McBride and Brey also did well in the high jump, with McBride placed first with a height of 5-foot, while Brey was second at 4-foot-8.

The Lady Panthers will next compete at Riverside Military Academy on Tuesday, March 10, beginning at 4:15 p.m.

Panthers soccer team beats Rabun; moves to 4-1

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Panthers Soccer

The Union Co. Panthers soccer team earned their fourth win of the young season Tuesday, March 3, with a 3-1 win against region-foe Banks Co. in Blairsville.

The Panthers (4-1, 1-0 Region 8-AA) scored all three of their goals in the first half thanks to the Robbins brothers.

Senior Kobi Robbins scored his ninth goal of the season in just the second minute off an assist from his brother, sophomore Kyler Robbins.

Kyler followed suit a minute later with a goal of his own, his second of the season, before striking again in the 26th minute for his third of 2020.

Rabun Co. finally got on the board with a goal in the 27th minute.

Despite multiple threats from both sides during the remainder of the first and the entirety of the second half, the score stayed at 3-1 for the final 53 minutes of the match.

Sophomore Dalton Allen added an assist for Union Co., which next visits Monticello (3-3-1, 0-0) for another region match beginning at 7:30 p.m., Friday, March 6.


Union Co. girls soccer falls to Rabun Co. at home

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Soccer Rabun Co. Union Co.

Despite holding a 5-4 lead a little more than six minutes into the second half, the Union Co. girls soccer team couldn’t withstand a powerful Rabun Co. offense that outscored the Lady Panthers 4-1 over the final 34 minutes to earn the 8-6 region win Tuesday, March 3, in Blairsville.

Soccer Rabun Co. Union Co.

Rabun Co. sophomore Willow Fisher and Union Co. freshman Italia Salazar battle for the ball.

Rabun Co. (2-1, 2-0 Region 8-AA) was led by an incredible performance from junior Lauren Barnes. Barnes scored early and often and netted seven total goals in the game.

Soccer Rabun Co. Union Co.

Union Co. senior Desaray Patterson, left, and Rabun Co. freshman Ana Garcia fight for possession.

The Lady Panthers (0-1, 0-1) were led by senior Desaray Patterson and sophomore Leia Whitener, who scored two goals each in the loss.

Freshman Kaylee Watts added a goal for the Lady Wildcats, while senior Mattison Ruff and freshman Italia Salazar added a goal each for Union Co.

The game was tied at five each in the 59th minute before Rabun Co. exploded for three goals in an eight-minute span to put the game away.

Both teams are slated to play region games next as Union Co. is slated to visit Monticello (2-3) and Rabun Co. is scheduled to host Social Circle (2-4, 0-1). Both games are set for kickoff at 5:30 p.m., Friday, March 6.

The current Region 8-AA standings are: Rabun Co. (2-0), Oglethorpe Co. (1-0), Banks Co. (1-0), Social Circle (0-1), Union Co. (0-1), Elbert Co. (0-2), Monticello (0-0), and Putnam Co. (0-0).


Panthers baseball earns strong win at Commerce

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Panthers Damien Chitwood

A first-inning single to right field from senior Carter Wright drove in fellow senior John Mancuso to give Union Co. a 1-0 lead on the road at Commerce on Tuesday, March 3, and the Panthers never looked back on the way to a 7-3 victory.

Panthers Isaak Mullinack

Isaak Mullinack smacks the ball into the outfield. The junior went 4-for-4 against Commerce on Tuesday.

In total, the Panthers (4-5, 1-1 Region 8-AA) plated four runs in the first inning, added another in the second, and tacked on two more in the sixth against the Tigers (5-3), who have yet to begin play in Region 8-A this season after reaching the state quarterfinals a year ago.

At the plate, Union Co. was led by junior Isaak Mullinack, who went 4-for-4 with three runs scored and an RBI. Mullinack, who is batting .385, currently leads the team with 10 runs scored and is second in hits, also with 10.

Panthers Carter Wright

Senior Carter Wright steps into a pitch. Wright drove in three runs Tuesday.

Wright finished the game 2-for-3 with three RBIs, two runs scored, and a double, while junior Damien Chitwood and senior Cayden Rich each went 2-for-4. Chitwood added two RBIs and a run scored in the win. Chitwood is batting .353 and leads the team with eight RBIs this season.

Senior Alec Youngblood added a hit, an RBI, and drew two walks, while Mancuso finished with two runs scored, a stolen base, and two walks. Mancuso is currently batting .423, leads the team in hits with 11, and is third in RBIs with six.

On the mound, Chitwood started the game and threw four innings, surrendering five hits, two earned runs, and two walks, while striking out two.

Mullinack threw two innings of middle relief, giving up one hit and walking one, while striking out three. He leads the team in strikeouts with 17 so far this season.

Rich pitched the seventh, giving up one run and walking three, while striking out three to close the game.

Union Co. next welcomes region-foe Social Circle (1-6, 0-2) to Blairsville for a doubleheader beginning at 5 p.m., Friday, March 6. This is the first time the Panthers and Redskins have played this season. Last season, Union Co. lost both ends of a doubleheader at Social Circle by a combined score of 4-1.

For the Panthers current season statistics, click here.

Union Co. boys track takes first place in first meet of the season

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Union Co.

With a score of 103, the Union Co. boys track team took first place at the team’s first tri-meet of the season at Gilmer on Thursday, Feb. 27. Gilmer placed second with 51 points, while Southeast Whitfield came in third with 13 points.

For Union Co., Zion Ross took first place in the 100-meter dash with a time of 12.14 seconds, while Sloan Sutton placed second at 12.42, and Noah Underwood placed third at 12.74.

Union Co.

Sloan Sutton competes for Union Co. at Gilmer on Thursday, Feb. 27.

In the 200-meter dash, the Panthers swept the top three spots with Elliott Stepp running a 25.62 for first, Sutton was second at 25.74, and Kyle Smith was third at 25.99.

In the 400-meter, Union Co.’s Thomas Mellendorf was first at 54.91, Gilmer’s Carson Purvis was second at 57.09, and Union Co.’s Jonah Green with third at 57.75.

Hunter Hartzog took first place in the 800-meter for Union Co. with a time of 2 minutes, 6.31 seconds, with Gilmer’s Purvis in second place at 2:08.02, and Union Co. Mellendorf in third at 2:18.80.

In the 1,600-meter, Hartzog placed first for Union Co. with a time of 4:48.58, while Gilmer’s Dylan Byrd was second at 5:18.65 and Nate Mooney was third at 5:24.49.

Union Co.

From left, Sloan Sutton, Zion Ross, and Kyle Morlock all placed for Union Co. on Thursday, Feb. 27.

Gilmer took second and third in the 110-meter hurdles, with AJ Miller in first at 18.68 and Landon Pike in second at 19.38.

Trevor Guild placed first in the 300-meter hurdles for Union CO. with a time of 47.27, while Gilmer’s Landon Pike was second at 47.62.

Union Co.’s Underwood took first in the shot put with a distance of 36 feet, 7.5 inches, while Gilmer’s Logan Ellis was third at 31 feet, 4 inches.

Kyle Morlock took first in the discuss for Union Co. with a throw of 110 feet, 2 inches, while Underwood was second with a distance of 91 feet. Gilmer’s Luke Byrant was third with a distance of 88 feet, 8 inches.

Union Co.’s Jonah Green placed first in the high jump with a leap of 5-feet-4, while Gilmer’s Ayden Fountain was second at 5-feet-2, and Union Co.’s Cale Winkler was third at 5-feet.

Will Kiker won the pole vault for Gilmer at 10-feet-6, while teammate Sebastian Lopez-Garcia was second at 8 feet.

Union Co.’s Ross won the long jump with a distance of 18 feet, 7.75 inches, while teammate Trace Wright was second at 17-feet-5. Gilmer’s Drew Little was third at 16-feet-10.

Union Co.’s Kyle Smith was first in the triple jump with a distance of 40 feet, 1.5 inches. Gilmer placed second and third, with Landon Pike in second at 39 feet, 1.5 inches, and Braden Jenkins in the third at 36 feet.

Union Co. girls track team comes in second at first meet of season

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Union Co.

With 49 points, the Union Co. girls track team placed second at the first meet of the season Thursday, Feb. 27, at Gilmer High in Ellijay.

Lexi Sisum placed first in the 200-meter dash with a time of 29.99 seconds, and second in the 100-meter dash with a time of 14.39 seconds.

In the 400-meter dash, Evelyn McBride placed second with a time of 1 minute, 8.6 seconds, while Allie Brey was third with a time 1:09.41.

Hana Gregory took third in the 800-meter with a time of 2:56.61.

In the 1,600-meter, Zoe Sanchez placed first with a time of 5:47.72. Sanchez also took first in the 3,200-meter with a time of 12:33.55.

In the 100-meter hurdles, Kaitlyn Daves placed second with a time of 22.68 seconds.

McBride placed first in the high jump with a leap of 5-foot.

Mia McCombs placed second in the long jump with a jump of 13 feet, 7.5 inches, while Sisum placed third at 13-feet-7.5.

The Lady Panthers next compete at Murphy on Wednesday, March 4, at 3:30 p.m.

Union Co. baseball team splits doubleheader with Banks Co.

TeamFYNSports, UCHS Baseball
Union Co.

After dropping the first game 14-1 on Saturday, Feb. 29, the Union Co. baseball squad rallied to earn a 3-2 win against Banks Co. and split the doubleheader in Blairsville.

Union Co.

Union Co. senior John Mancuso moves on defense in recent action for the Panthers.

The Panthers (3-5, 1-1 Region 8-AA) were led by senior John Mancuso at the plate and junior Isaak Mullinack on the mound in game two.

Mancuso went 2-for-4 with an RBI and a double. The double came with the game tied at two in the bottom of the sixth inning.

With senior Matthew Kelley standing on first base after a line-drive single with two outs, Mancuso hit the first pitch he saw deep into centerfield, driving in Kelley and putting the Panthers into the lead for good.

Union Co. was losing 2-1 heading into the bottom of the sixth. Senior Cayden Rich earned a walk to start the inning before a sacrifice from senior Alec Youngblood pushed Rich to third base.

Rich then scored on a sacrifice to second base by junior Hunter Loyd to tie the game at 2-2 and set up the go-ahead run.

Rich finished with two walks and a run scored, Loyd added the RBI, and Kelley went 2-for-3 with a run scored.

Union Co.

Union Co. junior Isaak Mullinack fires a pitch in recent action for the Panthers.

Mullinack threw four innings on the mound, giving up six hits, one earned run, and striking out two.

Junior Zeke Swartz threw two innings of middle relief for the Panthers, giving up two hits, one run, and striking out one.

Rich got the save, throwing the top of the seventh and surrendering just one hit, while striking out two.

The win was much needed for the Panthers after getting hammered in game one. Banks Co. (6-4, 1-1 Region 8-AA) scored four in the first and never looked back in the route of Union Co.

In that game, senior Carter Wright went 2-for-3 as the only Panthers player with a multi-hit game. Junior Austin Garrison and Youngblood each added a hit, with Youngblood accounting for the team’s only RBI in the game.

Sophomore Thomas Dyer added a run scored and a stolen base in the loss for Union Co.

The Panthers hit the road for their next game, a 6 p.m. visit to Commerce on Tuesday, March 3. Union Co. wraps up the week with a home doubleheader against Social Circle on Friday, March 6, beginning at 5 p.m. in Blairsville.

Lady Panthers see successful season end with quarterfinal loss

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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

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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

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.


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.


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.

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