Jan. 29—Union took on the fired up Wildcats of Hobbton on Friday, who were walking with back to back wins. The Spartans played with vigor but fizzled out late, allowing Hobbton to notch their third win in row, 53-43.
The game's tempo was high to kick things off but scoring was low with both teams struggling to find the net. The Spartans were struggling to keep their hands to themselves as they gifted Hobbton with some time at the charity stripe, undoing their hard work for the little points they were able to net. Still, the time at the free throw line didn't separate them as far as they could have but the Wildcats still held the advantage early, 12-7.
Entering the second, the drama filled game continued with Aydan Tart and Jermaine McNeil yelled to their players to keep up the pressure. McNeil was struggling to keep the athletes from fouling but to no avail as the Wildcats continued to make appearances at the line. To their detriment though, they still struggled to score and were unable to pull out of their reach. Despite the foul trouble, Union was rushing down court to strike the Wildcats.
This kept the game competitive but scoring was still scarce as the teams continued to pummel each other in the paint. Ashawd Wynn and Garret Britt for Hobbton had found success penetrating the Union defense and was able to push the Wildcats further. Spartans Cameron Wright and Mikhail McNeil also had made some headway for Union striking the paint and from distance, but alas neither team was able to rally. Entering halftime, the score was close separated by less than ten.
In the third, the heavy contention was much the same, both fighting to topple the other. Union was playing fiercely, trying to erase the goose egg that has been following them all season and the Wildcats were vying to keep their streak alive. Union was struggling to keep the paint clear from the ferocious Hobbton advance but the score was still close as the teams battled on the hardwood.
In the fourth, it stayed close but only for a spell. Rabid defender Cameron Wright fouled out after a slew of swipes that were misplaced. The demeanor of the team had dipped too low to come back and Hobbton slammed the door on the Spartans, delivering them their fifteenth loss, 53-43.
Arguably the game of the night was the passionate bout between a rivalry in progress. The junior squads of Hobbton and Union battled it out all game in a ferocious affair on the hardwood. Back and forth the contest went until the final minutes of the game. With just two minutes left, the Junior Wildcats were holding a five point lead at 52-47. Hobbton would sink a free throw after a foul to extend the lead but Union would follow that up with a three pointer to shrink the distance at 53-50. From here, the Wildcats struggled to contain the Spartan advance and with a little over a minute remaining, Union would hit another beyond the perimeter snipe to tie it up at 53 all.
The crowd grew exponentially louder as the roof over the gym rattled with cheers. Hobbton battled it out with Union but came away with just a point from the charity stripe. After a contested rebound the Spartans raced down court as seconds drained from the clock, desperation drove the Wildcats to play defense recklessly and took a swipe at a shot that made contact with the player, prompting a free throw visit. They'd convert on both shots to reclaim the lead, 55-54.
The teams went at again, looking for points wherever they could. After a botch attempt by Union that cost them possession, the Wildcats made a huge blunder, losing control shortly after the throw in. The Spartans quickly converted putting them up by three. Not five seconds later, in a rush, Hobbton threw the ball directly at a Union player just under the basket on another throw in for an easy two points, extending their lead to five in under 10 seconds.
Hobbton did what they could but the momentum killing mistakes drained the Wildcats will and Union took the home win over their rivals in a dramatic, passionate contest, 59-54.
Reach Anthony McConnaughey at email@example.com, X @SampsonSports or on the Sampson Independent Facebook page