Union girls basketball learns valuable lesson when facing Elizabeth

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ELIZABETH, NJ — Partway through a span of eight straight road games, the Union High School girls basketball team learned a valuable lesson when it went up against one of the best teams in Union County.

Giving teams second and third chances to produce offensively adds up to a whole lot of trouble. Yielding numerous rebounds instead of being able to come down with the ball right away leads to the opposition getting too many chances.

In the 64-27 setback at conference crossover foe Elizabeth High School on Saturday, Jan. 14, third-year head coach Omar Wright said this was the difference: “We gave up too many offensive rebounds.”

Union, which will take a 4-7 record into its Union County Conference–Valley Division contest on Thursday, Jan. 19, at Roselle Park, gave undefeated Elizabeth an immediate challenge after the opening tip at Frank J. Cicarell Academy’s basketball court.

Union staged the game’s first surge by scoring 7 straight points to take a 7-3 lead against the 12-0 Minutemen. Union then led Elizabeth 9-8 after the first period, only to get outscored 17-5, 18-6 and 21-7 in the final three periods.

“We played our defense in that first quarter,” Wright said.
Elizabeth turned up its intensity once the second quarter began and went on an 11-0 run to take the lead for good. In addition to getting more than one shot off on many possessions, the Minutemen had their hands all over the place, creating chaos and Union turnovers that led to easy Elizabeth transition layups.

“They capitalized on their offensive rebounds,” Wright said. “Turnovers for us were big. We weren’t making the right pass.”
Elizabeth began the week as the only undefeated team in Union County, with a 13-0 overall record. At 7-0, the Minutemen lead the UCC’s Mountain Division standings.

“We just couldn’t beat them to the boards,” Wright said. “We have to be able to match the hustle that they showed.”

Leading Union in scoring was senior Karesha Joseph, with an 8-point performance that included Union’s only 3-point field goal. Keira Miller-People, a sophomore, scored 6 points; junior Samantha Turner, 5; and sophomore Brielle Hayford, 4. Seniors Edlyn Noel and Dasia Edmond poured in 2 each.

Union is scheduled to play at Valley Division leader Abraham Clark High School on Saturday, Jan. 21, at 10 a.m. and is then at Hillside High School on Tuesday, Jan. 24, at 4 p.m., to conclude the eight-game road trip.

Union is then scheduled to play six consecutive regular-season games at home before closing its regular-season schedule at Irvington High School, Wright’s alma mater, on Saturday, Feb. 18.
In division play, Union lost close games to Abraham Clark 49-42 and Hillside 43-41 and defeated Roselle Park High School handily, 47-16.

Union County Conference girls basketball crossover
Saturday, Jan. 14 at Elizabeth
Union High School (4-7) 09 05 06 07 – 27
Elizabeth High School (13-0) 08 17 18 21 – 64

Union Farmers (27):
• No. 5, Dasia Edmond, senior, 0-0-2-2.
• No. 1, Karesha Joseph, senior, 1-1-3-8.
• No. 22, Samantha Turner, junior, 2-0-1-5.
• No. 21, Brielle Hayford, sophomore, 2-0-0-4.
• No. 2, Keira Miller-People, sophomore, 3-0-0-6.
• No. 30, Edlyn Noel, senior, 1-0-0-2.
• No. 3, Gabrielle Aguilar, sophomore, 0-0-0-0.
• No. 31, Aanesti Peterman, sophomore, 0-0-0-0.
Starters: Joseph, Miller-People,
Aguilar, Hayford, Turner.
Totals: 9-1-6-27.

Elizabeth Minutemen (64):
• No. 14, Alexandra Koon, junior, 2-1-2-9.
• No. 1, Jah’nae Lembrick, freshman, 6-0-0-12.
• No. 10, Ashanti Dewalt, sophomore, 4-1-1-12.
• No. 5, Dynasty Chandler, junior, 2-0-0-4.
• No. 2, Alani Gordon, sophomore, 2-3-0-13.
• No. 3, Damani Anderson, senior, 4-0-0-8.
• No. 11, Kezia Feaster, senior, 3-0-0-6.
• No. 4, Samiya Bryant, junior, 0-0-0-0.
• No. 6, Kelsey Thelemaque, junior, 0-0-0-0.
• No. 12, Jasmine Guifarro, senior, 0-0-0-0.
• No. 13, Mia Jackson, sophomore, 0-0-0-0.
• No. 15, Layanna Abuhamoud, freshman, 0-0-0-0.
• No. 20, Marissa Beita, freshman, 0-0-0-0.
Starters: Gordon, Anderson,
Lembrick, Chandler, Koon.
Totals: 23-5-3-64.

Photos by JR Parachini