INMAN — The Union County girls basketball team (9-3, 1-0) opened region play with a bang on Friday night, knocking off Chapman, 66-31.
The Lady Jackets got hot early and used a 10-2 run in the first quarter to set the tone of the game.
“They came out fighting,” said Head Coach Angela Burke. “We charged them with different things to do today and they answered the challenge.”
Union County went on a tear in the third period, outscoring the Panthers 25-2 and building a 59-19 lead.
Mari Eison paced the Jackets with 19 points and Kristen Giles matched her average at 17.
“Mari had been a little discouraged,” revealed Burke. “She’d say, ‘Coach, I can get in there and play but I can’t finish.’ Well, today was the day that she finished.”
Burke is also pleased with the production of her point guard, Giles. “KG really took control of the game,” said Burke after the win. “She’s really been consistent for us.”
The Lady Jackets have their sights set on Broome and will look to make it two in a row on Tuesday night.
“We don’t underestimate anyone,” Burke said. “We’re gonna prepare and hopefully we can go there and take the ‘W’.”
In boys action, the Jackets were tripped up by Chapman and the result was a 77-38 region loss.
“We came out with a game plan and executed it well in the first quarter but by the third quarter we’d quit doing what we were suppose to do,” said Head Coach Will Hickson.
Despite being out rebounded, Union County (1-14, 0-1) trailed by just five points at the end of the first quarter but second chance shots proved to be the difference maker and the Panthers carried a 20 point lead into intermission at 39-19.
Chapman pressed Union County for 32 minutes and forced numerous turnovers which led to transition baskets.
“Their pressure got to us and we didn’t handle it very well,” said Hickson. “They just wore us down.”
The Panthers didn’t let up in the second half and a 20-10 third quarter was too much for the Jackets to overcome.
Union County will look for its first win in the region Tuesday night on the road when it takes on Broome.
Recus Hughes paced the Jackets offensively and led all scorers’ with 13 points.