Union got their second victory after facing the Rosewood Eagles Thursday night on the Spartans’ home court. After an intense game, Union came out of top, 53-49.
“I think my boys now understand they’re part of a team,” said coach Brad Bass. “It’s not about being the all-star player making shots; it’s about working together. I told them defense wins us these games. Our defense is what’s improved from our first four or five games where we were struggling and it’s our defense that won this game tonight.”
The Eagles took a second quarter lead 19-17, further increasing that to 24-17. With only 1:37 left in the first half, the Spartans put together a run and turned the tables, tying the game back up at 24-24.
As the timer rapidly counted toward the end of the first half, Union pulled ahead thanks to a free throw. The Eagles tacked on a free throw of their own to end the half with a tie score, 25-25.
The Spartans opened up the second half taking the lead quickly, scoring four unanswered points to make it 29-25 but a free throw closed the gap slightly for Rosewood 29-26.
As the Spartans began pulling further ahead at 33-26, the Eagles came back with a run closing the gap between them at 33-31. When the third quarter ended, the game stood at 37-33.
As the final quarter began to close, the four-point margin had not waned, standing at 49-45. A couple free throws for Rosewood shrunk the difference to two, at 49-47, with the Eagles getting into position to steal the game.
More free throws for Union brought the score to 53-47, and out of reach for the Eagles, who were able to sink one final shot as the final buzzer for the eventual 53-49 final.
“When we got down the court in those crucial minutes to get us ahead, it was able to win us the game,” said Bass. “When we’re not strong on the offensive end, we’re giving up points and keeping the games close. In all of our conference games, including against Hobbton, it was in one or two points. They‘ve got to remember when we get a lead, we need to secure it.”
With a balanced mindset, Bass believes Union is set to take on the rest this season.
The Spartans’ record stands at 2-5, both wins coming in conference, where their record is 2-1. Union’s next game will be on Monday, at home against West Bladen.
Reach Chris Froat at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter @SampsonInd.