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Union bounces past Lady Warriors

By By Rocky Higginbotham/Special to The Star
Dec. 30, 2001
NANIH WAIYA Union girls' basketball coach Brandi Reeves is the first to admit that the 2001-02 edition of her Lady Yellow Jackets often brings an "all or nothing" performance to the table.
And in three previous meetings with growing rival Nanih Waiya this season, the Lady Jackets brought near nothing.
Saturday afternoon, it was a different story.
Union, which had lost three previous meetings to the Lady Warriors by an average of 21 points, led from start to finish in a 49-40 win over the host team in the third-place game of the first-ever Nanih Waiya Girls' Invitational Christmas Tournament.
In Saturday's other action, Kemper County won the losers' bracket championship with a 63-52 win over Noxapater, while Weir claimed seventh place with a 49-40 win over Montgomery County.
Union 49
Nanih Waiya 40
The Lady Jackets lost 61-32 to Nanih Waiya back on Nov. 20, fell 46-36 to the Lady Warriors on Nov. 29 and were pummeled 61-37 by Nanih Waiya on Dec. 15.
But Saturday, Union won for the fourth time in its last six outings with a strong start and finish.
Union, which is now 5-8, got 19 points from LaSaundra Harrison and 14 from Marley Smith. The Lady Jackets, who have no seniors on their roster, also got six points apiece from Lauren White and Clancy Cleveland.
Nanih Waiya, which fell to 12-7 on the season, fell behind 8-2 in the opening minutes, but got a 3-pointer from Ashley Pugh at the end of the first quarter to pull within 11-10.
But even though the Lady Warriors never trailed by more than eight points until the final three seconds, Nanih Waiya never got over the hump, either.
It was a 20-17 lead for Union at halftime and a 31-26 edge going into the fourth quarter.
The closest Nanih Waiya got in the final frame was 44-40 on another 3-pointer by Pugh with 49 seconds left. But the Lady Warriors didn't score again, while Harrison, Cleveland and Curbie Buckley combined to knock down 5-of-6 free throws for Union.
Pugh scored a game-high 24 points to lead the Lady Warriors, while Courtnee Graham and Jaimee Jones had six apiece.
Kemper County 63
Noxapater 52
The Lady Wildcats won their second straight and moved to 5-9 on the season by using a big third quarter to knock off Noxapater.
Kemper was up by seven after one quarter and at halftime, but outscored the Lady Tigers 18-6 in the third quarter to take control, going up 53-34 heading into the fourth quarter.
Monique Mosley led Kemper with 21 points, while Tamician Davis scored 15. Laretha Love added eight points for the Lady Wildcats, who got six points apiece from Candra McCoy and Jashemia Cherry.
Noxapater, which fell to 2-13, got 17 points from Deidre Triplett who was 11-of-14 at the free-throw line. Stephanie Blankenship added 13 points, Krystle Hunter scored 10 and Brittany Eichelberger chipped in seven.
Weir 49
Montgomery County 40
The Lady Lions made just 9-of-30 attempts from the free-throw line but still managed to knock off the Lady Hornets.
Weir overcame a two-point halftime deficit and outscored Montgomery 11-3 in the fourth quarter.
Pamela Williams had 22 to lead the Lady Lions, while Krystal Hannah pumped in 15.
Freshman Kate Booker nailed a trio of 3-pointers and led Montgomery County with 20 points. Crystal Gholston added 10.