By Blake Nelson
The Union City Tigers traveled to Paden, Okla., for the Paden Invitational Tournament this past weekend. The Tigers got the No. 2 seed and felt a little disrespected after winning the past two Paden tournaments. This season was much like the past two years as Union City cruised to the championship before defeating Paden in the championship game. The Tigers have now won seven straight games and now three straight Paden tournaments.
Union City vs Mason (52-28)
Union City took on Mason in the first round cruising to an easy 52-28 victory, sending them to the semi-finals. The Tigers didn’t play well in the first half offensively. The defense was the main factor in the game only allowing 12 first half points and 28 points overall.
No. 21 Agra vs No. 25 Union City (55-62)
The Union City Tigers who were No. 25 in the class rankings fed off the motivation of being disrespected. They took on the No. 21 ranked Agra Bearcats and the Tigers showed there dominance. The Tigers controlled the entire game right from the tip. Josh Michalicka got the game started for Union City with three 3-pointers. Blake Nelson capped off a successful first quarter with a three pointer at the buzzer. The Tigers lead 20-9 at the end of the first.
The match-up stayed the same throughout most of the game. Agra attempted a late fourth quarter comeback but ran out of time giving the Tigers a ticket to the championship game. The final score was 62-55.
#12 Paden vs #25 Union City (40-47)
Union City took on Class B’s 12th-ranked Paden Pirates in the championship game. The Tigers played to defend their title and bring back the trophy once again. If you missed the first quarter of the game, you didn’t miss much, as the Tigers played the way they wanted to, holding the ball for six minutes, upsetting a lot of Pirate fans, and taking a 5-2 lead at the end of the first quarter.
Paden finally came out to play defense and that may have been a mistake. The Tigers took advantage and came out firing. Union City’s defense executed to perfection only allowing three points and taking a 22-5 advantage at halftime.
The third quarter was all Paden as they came out hot. The Pirates cut the deficit to 2 points, but that was a close as they would get. The Tigers answered and pulled away to a 47-40 victory, bringing home the trophy to Union City. This is the third year in a row that the Tigers have won the Paden Invitational tournament.
Senior Night will be Tuesday, Jan. 24. Union City will play Calumet. The girls play at 6:30 and the boys will follow.