Daryl Watkins gets airborne for Union on a first-half drive to the basket.
BY CLIFF SMELLEY
Union County High School gave the annual Lake Area McDonald’s-Kiwanis Club of Starke boys’ basketball tournament an exciting finish as Alphonso Brown came up with a loose ball just beyond the 3-point arc and fired up a shot that went in as the buzzer sounded to give the Tigers a 58-56 win over tournament host Bradford on Dec. 18.
Brown had nine of his game-high 19 points in the fourth quarter, while teammates Fred Sirmones and Daryl Watkins finished with 12 each as Union improved to 5-5.
The Tigers’ next game in the three-day tournament is against Creekside at 8:30 p.m. on Dec. 19. Creekside was a 50-44 winner over Glynn Academy.
Bradford (3-7) was led by Joquez Ivey’s 13 points, while Caleb Jones and Shawn Aaron added nine and eight, respectively.
The Tornadoes didn’t help themselves at the free-throw line, going 3-of-13. In contrast, Union was 19-of-31.
Bradford will now play Glynn Academy at 5:30 p.m. on Dec. 19. Glynn Academy lost 50-44 to Creekside during the first day of the tournament.
Also in first-day action, Oakleaf defeated IMG Academy 78-58, and Gainesville defeated Miami Northwestern 69-51.
Day-two action begins with IMG Academy playing Miami Northwestern at 4 p.m. Following the Bradford-Glynn Academy game, Gainesville will play Oakleaf at 7 p.m. Admission is $5.
Union’s Daryl Watkins (right) drives to the basket against Bradford’s Joquez Ivey.
Joquez Ivey (foreground) scores in transition for the Tornadoes.
Bradford’s Joquez Ivey (left) attempts to keep the ball away from Union’s Daryl Watkins and Antonio Hendrieth (background).
Bradford’s Elijah Higginbotham (right) guards Union’s Parker Hodgson.
Larry Highsmith (left) works down low for the Tornadoes with Union’s Dakenundrick Wells guarding him.
Bradford’s Larry Highsmith (foreground) looks for an opportunity to get a shot attempt up against Union’s Alphonso Brown. Union’s Anotnio Hendrieth and Bradford’s A.J. McNeal are pictured in the background.
Bradford’s Elijah Higginbotham (second from right) attempts to save a ball from going out of bounds. Also pictured (l-r) are Union’s Antonio Hendrieth, Bradford’s Joquez Ivey and Union’s Parker Hodgson.
Union’s Antonio Hendrieth (foreground) drives to the basket.
Bradford’s Oliver Griffin (center) drives the lane through Union’s (l-r) Cody Miller, Fred Simrones and Parker Hodgson.
Alphonso Brown (center) comes down with a rebound between Bradford’s Larry Highsmith (left) and Caleb Jones.
The Tigers’ Alphonso Brown (second from right) puts up a shot between Bradford players Elijah Higginbotham and Caleb Jones.
Union’s Dairon Alexander (second from right) loses the ball while trying to drive past Bradford players (l-r) Caleb Jones and Larry Highsmith. Union’s Alphonso Brown (far left) is also pictured.
Bradford’s Shawn Aaron (center) grabs a rebound in the midst of Union players (l-r) Fred Sirmones, Cody Miller and Antonio Hendrieth.