It was an upset in the making from the tip off to the final buzzer. No. 4 seeded Union brought down No. 1 James Kenan in the semi-finals of the Tri-County Tournament on Wednesday at Union.
The Spartans started the game on fire and led from the very beginning.
“It was a great effort on our boys’ part. They played with a lot of heart these last two games, and we lacked that at times during the season. Tonight everyone played hard,” Spartan head coach Tim Pope explained.
“You make your free throws and your layups and you’ve got a chance to win,” Pope added. “Demarious Davis and Justin Smith played excellent defense and rebounded tough.”
The Spartans made 14 of 19 free throws.
Union was in the lead by 4 points at the end of the first quarter and had extended it to 11 points by halftime, 33-22.
In a show of high energy, fantastic rebounding and great shooting, the Spartans held James Kenan to just 2 points in the third quarter while they shot 14 to end the period 47-24.
James Kenan finally started hitting their shots and created a few turnovers in the fourth, but not enough to get back within reach of a win. The final score was 62-43.
Leading all scorers was Union’s T.D. Blackmore with 19 points; Maurice Highsmith scored 10; Bakaam Murphy scored 9 points; Demarius Davis and Natrone Banks each had 8; and Justin Smith scored 7 points.
For James Kenan, Andre Smith was high scorer with 14 points followed by Michael Moore with 8.
Union will play in the championship game on Friday at Union. They play the winner of the Wallace-Rose Hill-Pender game, which will be played tonight at Union.
“Our goal is to win this championship and get the No. 2 seed in the playoffs next week,” Pope said.