Union girls stun Battle Ground

Tuileisu Anderson hit the shot that gave the Titans the lead. Angelique Williams was on fire, too. And in eight minutes, the Union girls basketball team had completed an amazing comeback, handing Battle Ground its first loss of the season.

After trailing by 17 heading into the fourth quarter, Union outscored the Tigers 27-5 for a 56-51 victory.

Making it all the more remarkable, Union had lost seven of its past eight games. Battle Ground was 8-0. Oh, and did I mention Battle Ground led by 17 after three quarters?

“We were down 17. I can’t get over it. That was crazy,” Williams said moments after the game.

Crazy indeed.

“Our coach told us we are the youngest varsity team in the state,” Anderson said. “We showed, even though we’re young, we have heart and potential.”

Williams and Anderson each scored nine points in the decisive quarter. Williams finished the game with 21 points, while Anderson had 16. And did I mention the Titans scored 27 points in the fourth quarter? That was after scoring 29 points in the first three quarters.

“We weren’t looking at the scoreboard,” Anderson said. “We just focused on the game.”

Oh, and all those points were needed, but even with 27 fourth-quarter points, had Battle Ground scored 11, the Tigers would have won. It all started with defense.

“We got nine stops in a row,” Williams proudly proclaimed.

Here is another interesting tidbit. When a team rallies from such a large deficit in the final quarter and wins, it usually happens at the buzzer or in the final seconds, often in a one-possession game. Not here. Union got the three point lead inside two minutes on Anderson’s 3-pionter and just kept attacking. Natalie Conrad had a baseline jumper for a five-point lead. On Union’s next possession, Bre Onley filled the lane, grabbed an offensive rebound, and scored to make it 56-49. Battle Ground ended up scoring its fifth point of the quarter in the final seconds, way too late to respond to Union’s onslaught.

For Battle Ground, it was the first setback of a promising season. The Tigers know they have a good team, even after such a tough loss.

For Union, this is the type of game that can change the direction of a season.

Union coach Roger Shepard said there are 15 freshmen and sophomores among the top 22 players on the varsity and junior varsity. There are only three seniors. Tuesday night, the Titans played four freshmen and four sophomores.

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Here is one reporter who likes the girls and boys varsity doubleheaders. I never would have seen this amazing comeback under the format that had been used for years. There is no way I would have attended this game.

Tuesday night, I headed out to Union to watch the Titans take on Battle Ground in the boys game. I got to the gym early to write another story that will run later in the week. As I was typing away, I would look up from time to time to watch the girls game.

For the first quarter, the second, and then the third, nothing unusual was happening. You see, Battle Ground came into the game undefeated. Union had lost seven of its past eight games. So it came as no suprise to me to see Battle Ground ahead by 17 points going into the fourth quarter.

It was about that time that I finished writing that other story. I left my computer on the balcony and headed to the floor level to watch the fourth quarter with Cale Piland, Union’s athletic coordinator.

He was the one that noticed it first. Hey, you know what? This game is starting to get closer.

Sure enough, the Titans were making a run.

By the end of the game, those of us who were there were reminded of the reasons we love sports. Competition is competition, no matter the record of the teams involved. And we never know when we will witness something special.

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