Union’s JV Spartans held their own against East Bladen Friday afternoon, but in the end the home team got the 55-47 win.
Coach Bryant Register praised both teams for a good game, but saved his highest praise for his young squad, nothing that for their first game of the season, he thought the Union boys did a great job.
“This was our first game and East Bladen’s fourth. In many ways, that was the difference,” Register said.
East Bladen pulled away early in the first quarter 21-9, but the Spartans didn’t give up, fighting back to within 4, 30-26, at the half.
“We were on the verge of getting blown out of the place, but my guys kept fighting back. They dug in defensively and battled back to get into the game.”
The third and fourth quarters was a back-and-forth effort, with East Bladen leading 46-37 at the end of the third frame and finally taking the win in the fourth.
“I was very proud of these young guys,” Register said.
There were, the coach stressed, teachable moments in the game.
One of them was at the charity stripe, where Union left 19 points on the court. The JV Spartans were only 8 of 27 from the line.
“We’ve got to do a better job with our free throw,” he emphasized.
Yet the coach said he was encouraged by what he saw from his team. “They are only going to get better,” Register said.
Christian Boykin led Union’s scoring with 14 points. Javonte Henry added 10; Jawan Newkirk, 9; Traquan Peterson, 8; Brandon Johnson, 2; Jamar Newkirk, 2; and Carter Spearman, 2.
Union hosts North Duplin Tueday in a 4:30 p.m. game.