The Union basketball teams play their final games of the regular season Thursday night on the road against Neuse Charter. They went 1-1 against the Cougars, the boys squeaking by 86-84 while the girls got skunked 70-27.
The Spartan men have been all over the place this season, especially earlier in the year, but turned it around once conference play started. They managed to stay above .500 after barely holding off the Cougars by two points.
They split quarters in the first half with Union taking it to them first before the Cougars did the same to the Spartans. At the end of the first quarter the visiting white and red took a seven-point lead with 27 points. Offensive scoring was high for the home team as well but it wasn’t enough to gain control, they went for 20.
It was a complete turn around in the second quarter as Neuse Charter got better on each end of the floor and really caused Union a lot of problems. Adding on three extra from their first period performance, Neuse went for 23 more and took the lead going into halftime. Meanwhile, the Spartans couldn’t replicate their first period production going for only 14 and heading in the break down two 43-41.
Union didn’t stay trailing long as their adjustments for the second half proved to be the key to them walking away with a win. Gaining the reigns in the third period they managed to take the lead back after the third eight minutes, going for 24 they were back in the form from the first quarter. The Cougars tried to stay in front but only went for 21 letting their small lead slip away.
The closest quarter of the night came in the fourth with a one point being the difference in scoring, favor going Union’s way. With 21 more added on the scoreboard and only 20 from the home team the Spartans close the regular season out on a nail biter.
Cole Bass was the point man in this contest going for a game-high 23 points he led the way in scoring. Derrick Smith was in his corner all night finishing behind him with 20.
The Lady Spartans were not nearly as fortunate as the boys, they were blown off the court by 43 points. After the hard game they had against Rosewood the previous night they just didn’t have the energy to take this one.
“It just wasn’t our night, after a grueling win over Rosewood last night, we just didn’t bring the same intensity tonight,” said Union head coach Bryant Register. “I’m proud of our effort but we just couldn’t get anything going to slow them down. Our focus now turns to the conference tournament next week and we will play at the #4 seed on Monday night.”
Nikya Owens was the leading scorer with 12 points and Amaya Jackson was behind her with five. Kaia Johnson added four with LaTyra English and Justice Johnson going for three.
The men end their season 10-12 overall and 7-5 in the conference while the women sit at 7-13 and 5-7 in conference as the No. 5 seed. They await to find out their opponents in the conference tournament next week.
Reach Michael Hardison at email@example.com. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter @SampsonInd.