Union County exits state tournament


Union County's Daquin Edwards drives toward the basket as Greensboro West Gadsden's Teron Fitzgerald tries to defend during the second half of their Class 1A state semifinal game at The Lakeland Center on Tuesday. (Photo by Michael Wilson/The Lakeland Ledger)

Published: Tuesday, February 26, 2013 at 12:21 p.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, February 26, 2013 at 12:21 p.m.

LAKELAND — Just when it looked like Union County was turning the corner, taking a three-point lead early in the second period after an 11-0 run, Greensboro West Gadsden answered with several runs of its own to put away the Tigers in Tuesday's Class 1A state semifinals at The Lakeland Center.

Marquis Brown and Brandon Shingles combined for 49 points, and the Panthers used a 17-0 spurt in the second to seize control and never look back in a 76-51 rout of Union County, the Tigers' second straight semifinal loss.

“We started with the right game plan, we just got complacent,” said Union County coach Rufus Jefferson. “They caused a lot of turnovers. We didn't do what we needed to do. If we got half of the turnovers we made back and hit some free throws, then it is a ballgame. We beat ourselves.”

Union hit on just 12 of 27 from the free throw line, and had 19 turnovers.

Shaimea Maeweather, the Tigers' leading scorer (18.3 ppg), had only two points in the first half and took just two shots. He finished with 10 but was hardly a factor in the game.

“I just couldn't hit my shots,” he said. “I had the right mindset going into the game. I just couldn't get focused like I wanted. As a captain and leader of this team, I didn't play to my ability today.”

Maeweather's only basket in the first half gave Union an 18-15 lead early in the second, but a 17-0 run, sparked by consecutive dunks from Brown, put West Gadsden up 32-18.

The Tigers (17-13) cut the deficit to nine twice before the Panthers broke it open for good, getting three straight baskets from Shingles, who finished with 24 points with six 3-pointers, part of a 12-0 run and a 56-35 lead to open the fourth.

Sophomore Kedric Bradley led Union with 14 points, and Prince Alexander had 11 with three 3-pointers.

Brown led West Gadsden, which is coached by former UF guard Andrew Moten, with 25 points and 14 rebounds.

“Our main things today was to hit free throws and maintain the ball,” Jefferson said. “We didn't do well today at all in those and that kept us from playing for a state championship.”

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