BIG STONE GAP — A clutch 3-pointer by Michael Collier lifted Gate City to safety with 3:15 left to play, and Dylan Jenkins got them the rest of the way to a white-knuckle 65-61 win at Union’s rocking new gym Friday night.
Jenkins scored seven of his game-high 29 points over the final 2:35, putting Vermillion on pins and needles with a 2-for-4 showing at the line over the final minute.
Perhaps it was because Jenkins was standing still with his feet set. He routinely confounded the Bears’ sound defensive efforts with acrobatic off-balance field goals off the dribble.
John Reed Barnes had a great night for the Blue Devils (9-4, 5-0), scoring 13 points and grabbing six boards. Collier, who picked up his fifth foul with 11.4 seconds left to play, scored 12 points. Both of his 3s bought his team much-needed breathing room.
Logan Mullins scored 21 points to pace Union (7-7, 1-3). His thrilling buzzer-beating 3-pointer to end the third period — an opportunity created by a turnover forced by Tanner Hall — locked up the game at 47 headed into the final period.
Logan Schoolcraft scored 20 points and grabbed seven rebounds for the Bears. Gate City ably denied him the ball in the first quarter, but Union got better at circumventing their efforts.
Schoolcraft cut it to 63-60 with his bucket in the post with 1:10 remaining. After a timeout, the Bears made two more cunning bids to get the big man the ball. The Devils’ defense prevailed.
Union point guard Dez Burney fouled out in the opening minutes of the fourth quarter. He had six points and five assists. Bryce Spears stepped up in the backcourt, scoring eight points with three assists. He made a great pass to Hall for a trifecta attempt that failed to fall with 12 seconds showing. Spears’ final trey attempt as time expired wasn’t close.
In the girls’ game, post Jordan Houseright muscled up 12 points for the Lady Blue Devils, who dispatched the Lady Bears 65-31.
Megan Edwards scored 11 for Gate City (16-1, 5-0). Jordan Gose was held to three points, in part due to Union’s capable defensive gimmickry. Morgan Gose scored eight and defensive devotee Hannah Kilgore went on trash patrol, scoring eight.
Kristen Bishop scored 15 to lead the Lady Bears (7-7, 0-4).
Union’s roster has been hard-hit by injuries. Sydney McKinney, Bailee Trent and Tabby Barker have all been sidelined.
For an expanded version of this article, please see Saturday's print edition or our electronic edition.