Union Grove boys basketball coach Russ Atkins had a clear-cut message for his basketball team heading into the fourth quarter of Friday night's game against Griffin.
Play good defense and he told his team they had a shot to win.
Somebody must have been listening.
Union Grove trailed 47-43 heading into the final quarter, but eight minutes later, the Wolverines escaped with a 60-56 victory .
"We made stops when we had to," he said. "We didn't hit all our shots on the offensive end, but we played really well on defense and were able to shut them down when we had too."
Jaylaw Wise led Union Grove with 19 points. Jordan Nelson chipped in 12.
With the victory the Wolverines improved to 1-1 overall and 1-0 in Region 3A-AAAAA. For the Bears, it was the season opener as they dropped to 0-1.
Union Grove took its first lead since early in the first quarter when Nelson hit a pair of free throws with 4:16 remaining in the game to give the Wolverines a 48-47 lead.
Union Grove wasn't done hitting shots from the free throw line. Wise's two free throws less than two minutes later gave the Wolverines the lead for good at 52-51.
Senior Tracy Ham, who hit a 3-point shot in the first quarter, added his second trey with just over a minute to go in the game to give the team a 55-51 lead. He also hit a key free throw down the stretch.
Union Grove started the game with a 5-0 lead, but the Bears came went on a 10-0 run midway through the first quarter to take early control of the contest. The first quarter ended tied 14-all, setting the stage for a close contest the rest of the way.
Griffin took a 34-30 lead at the break. The Bears relied on 3-point shots from Quandarius Mayes, Terrell Covin, and DeAngelo Johnson to take the lead at the break. Mayes led Griffin with 17 points.
Atkins is hoping his team can built on Friday's win, heading into Saturday's game with Eagle's Landing Christian."
"Considering the way we played in our opener against Northgate," he said. "We need this win."
Grffin 65, Union Grove 53: The Griffin Lady Bears led from start to finish Friday, and defeated Union Grove in the region game.
The loss dropped Union Grove's record to 1-1.
Depute the loss, Corine White had a double-double for the Lady Wolverines. finishing with 16 points and 15 rebounds.
Elliotte Roberts added 15 points.
Griffin built a 13-11 lead at the end of the first quarter, but pushed the lead to 34-21 at the half.
Jamiya Clemon helped Griffin pull away thanks to three 3-point shots. She finished with 21 points.
Griffin nearly threw the knock out punch in the third quarter, building a 48-31 lead after three periods, but Union Grove came back, cutting the margin to single digits late in the period.