UNION — The Lady Jackets won the region and promptly issued first-year head coach Angela Burke an ice bath on Tuesday night.
“They told me they were going to do it and as the clock started running off those last few seconds, I was looking for it,” laughed Burke. “But when we started chanting, “Region Champs,” I let my guard down and they got me.”
With a 58-37 win over Clinton, Burke’s team became the first in the history of Union County High School to win the Region III-AAA title.
“It’s a good feeling to know that you worked hard for it and then to actually win it,” said Union County post player Cierra Mitchell who turned in a double-double on Tuesday with 18 point and 11 rebounds.
The Jackets controlled the tempo throughout the first half and jumped out to a 27-13 lead at intermission. Senior point guard Kristin Giles picked up her fourth foul of the game in the opening minutes of the third quarter and was replaced on the court by freshman Dexlie Inman. Clinton went on an 8-2 run with Giles out of the game but the Devils could only cut the lead to 12 points.
Union County poured on the offense in the final period outscoring Clinton 23-14 en route to the win on senior night.
Mitchell led all scorers with 18 points. CeCe Moorman and Kristin Giles netted 13 and 12 points respectively.
“We had some adversity with K.G. (Giles) having to come out,” said Burke. “Dexlie had to pick up the point guard position which is something she’s still adjusting to. She handled the pressure though, and I think she does a good job as a freshman.”
Wednesday, the Lady Jackets began preparation for playoffs. It hasn’t been determined whether Seneca or Walhalla will be paying a visit to Union County on Monday since the two are currently tied for fourth place in Region I-AAA.
“It makes it a little more difficult to prepare not knowing who we’re gonna face,” said Burke. “But we’ve been in the gym six days a week, Monday through Saturday, to get here. We’ll keep working on the things we need to work on and hopefully get a second-round home game on Thursday.”
In boys action: Union County’s season came to an end on Tuesday night with a 80-50 loss to Clinton.
The Red Devils jumped out to a 17-8 lead in the first quarter and turned the pressure up in the second. Union County had trouble setting up its offense with Clinton switching from full to half-court presses and were outscored 25-13.
The Devils continued to attack through the second half, rotating in five players at a time to maintain a comfortable lead.
Dakota Ivester and Kalay Jones led Union County’s scoring with 13 points each. The Jackets finished the season with a 1-23 overall record, 0-10 in the region.
“It’s probably the toughest season I’ve been a part of in any sport,” said Union County Head Coach Will Hickson. “I thought Dakota played well. We had a lot of young kids get playing time this year. They stuck through this, although it was tough and I appreciate them for that.”