The Leopards made it two out of three Tuesday when the Lakewood teams met up with strong Union Spartan competition. Lakewood came away with wins by the JV boys and the Lady Leopards, but Union’s varsity boys brought home the win in that game.
Both varsity teams came out ready to play and it was pretty much basket for basket throughout the first quarter. The first eight minutes ended in a 13-13 tie.
Union managed to pull ahead in the next six minutes with some strong offensive rebounding, and with 2:30 left in the first half the Spartans were up 9 points, 28-19
The Leopards went to a man-to-man defense for the next two minutes and play got rough, but Lakewood scored 8 to the Spartan’s 3 for a halftime score of 33-27
The Spartans came out in the third quarter on fire and went on a 17-9 run to give Union a 50-36 lead going into the fourth quarter.
Lakewood never gave up and managed to come within 10 points before time ran out. The final score was 61-51.
Union’s Brandon Lovett had a game-high 21 points. Natrone Banks scored 12; Dezmond Faison, 9; Damarius Davis, 7; and Bakeem Murphy 6 points. The Spartans move to 6-1 in the conference and 9-6 overall.
Ryan Emfinger topped the Leopards with 14 points; Nikin Henry, 9; Mike Smith, 8; and Patrick Rich, 6.
Union head coach Tim Pope was thrilled with the win. “This was a hard fought conference game. It’s hard to win at Lakewood. They are a well-coached, physical team. We managed to get a small lead and then we were fortunate enough to make our free throws to add to that cushion. These guys played hard for this win.”
Despite the Leopard loss, a disappointed Lakewood head coach Sylvester Pittman was proud of his team’s effort and complimented the Spartans on a good game. “Union played a great game,” he said.
The first game of the night showcased the junior varsity boys. Both teams played hard, but quick hands by the Leopards made the difference.
The Spartans were down by 12 at half.
They were digging their way out of the hole in the third quarter until the Leopards managed to swipe four passes in a row and turn them into fast breaks and baskets. By the end of the third quarter. Lakewood was leading 53-34.
The Spartans’ outside shooting was on target as the game wound down, but it was too little too late. The final score was 69-47.
Union’s head coach, Bryant Register, praised both teams on their good effort.
“Congratulations to Coach Pittman and the Lakewood JV on a great win. Our kids played hard and I’m happy with their effort, but Lakewood is a very well-coached, athletic team. We need to go back and work on some fundamentals, but I know we’re getting better every game.”
Pittman was very pleased with the win. “It was a good game. Union played hard and I think we wore them down in the second half. I’m proud of the effort put out by my team,” he said.
Leopard Mike Graham was leading scorer with 16 points; Maurice Boone, 12 points; Deshaun Wilson, 9; and Willie Herring scored 6 points.
For the Spartans, Jamar Newkirk scored 11 points; Jovante Henry, Devin Henry, and Jawan Newkirk, all scored 6 points each; and Shyquan Brunson and Brandon Johnson each scored 5 points.
The varsity girls game was a tough one for the tenacious Spartans. The Leopards went on a 22-2 run in the first quarter and by halftime Lakewood was leading 40-7.
The Lady Spartans never stopped playing for the win despite the gap between the scores. Both coaches agreed to let the clock run straight through the second half.
Lakewood led 51-10 when time finally ran out. Tasha Rich had the hot hand for the Leopards with 12 points, two were 3-pointers; Kiara Rich scored 10; and Bianca Moore scored 9, with two of her baskets being 3-pointers.
For Union, Lauren Preddy and Eva Long each had 3 points; Walker scored 2; and Robinson 2 points.
A gracious Union head coach John English said he expected Lakewood to play well.
“Lakewood is No.1 in the conference. They are a first rate team. My girls played hard and they never quit, but most of them lack experience. They are freshmen and sophomores,” he explained.
The Leopards are still undefeated in the conference.
Both teams play again on Friday with Union hosting James Kenan and Lakewood hosting Wallace-Rose Hill.