Union’s JV Spartans opened conference play on the road at James Kenan Tuesday afternoon, with the Tigers clawing their way to a 49-29 victory.
Spartan coach Bryant Register had positive things to say about his team despite the loss, noting that overall he thought they played competitively.
“I first want to congratulate James Kenan and their coach for a great win,” Register acknowledged before turning to his team’s performance.
“Overall, I’d have to say I was pleased with performance of my guys. I thought they played with good intensity, far better than we did against Clinton last Friday.”
Union got off to a good start, holding their own against the powerful Tigers. At the end of the first quarter, Kenan was on top by only 7 points, 19-12.
But Union eased off in the second and third quarters, giving Kenan the room they needed to put points on the board and some distance between themselves and the Sampson team.
At the half, the Tigers were ahead 30-17 and after three 41-18.
“We picked things back up a little bit in the third quarter,” Register said, “and we were able to find the basket a lot more.”
But, in the end, James Kenan’s early lead allowed them the breathing room they needed to get the W.
“I was really proud of the way the guys competed. That was our goal going into this game. I told them I wanted them to go out and have some fun and play basketball. They did that.”
Register acknowledged that the team still had mistakes that needed correcting, including what he called “too much standing around.”
“We played hard and the guys gave it everything they had on the court tonight, but there’s still room for improvement,” Register said.
Leading scoring for Union Tuesday was Christian Boykin with 8 points. Also scoring were Jawan Newkirk, 7; Carter Spearman, 6; Jamar Newkirk, 6; and Brandon Johnson, 2.
Union moves to 1-5 overall and 0-1 in conference play.
They return to the court Wednesday for another road game, a non-conference one, with North Duplin.