UNION — Coach Angela Burke and the Union County girls basketball team have one thing on their minds right now — reclaiming their spot at the head of Region III-AAA.
“We want to be the top dogs,” said Burke. “And before we can start thinking about playoffs or anything else, we have to settle the score with Chester.”
The Lady Jackets surrendered the region lead two weeks ago following a 44-41 loss to the undefeated Cyclones. Tonight at 6 p.m. the No. 1 and No. 2 teams will go head to head at Chester. A Union County win would mean a tie for first in the region with two games remaining before post season.
The Lady Jackets were their own worst enemy the first time around, turning the ball over and sending three players to the bench with five fouls. The normally high scoring Union County team also shot just 7-of-21 from the free throw line and tallied just 12 points in the second half.
Chester hit a five-minute scoring drought in the fourth quarter but not even an 8-0 Union County run in the final minutes was enough to make a comeback.
The Jackets are determined not to suffer a similar fate in the rematch and coming off a 62-46 win over Broome, they have momentum on their side.
“We’ve got to have the same mindset and energy we had Saturday against Broome,” said Kristin Giles, Union County point guard and senior captain. “We beat ourselves the first time with the missed free throws and fouls. Tonight cannot be a repeat of that.”
Burke agreed that to take care of business tonight, the Lady Jackets will have to shoot well from the line and play smart defense.
“This game is big for us,” she added. “We either win and tie Chester for first place or lose and take second place… We’re playing for the tie.”