The Union Girls’ basketball team emerged with a 2-point victory last Friday when they defeated the Uintah Utes in Vernal. The victory pushed the surging Lady Cougars into a three-way tie for 3rd place in Region 10 standings. The Cougar Boys’ dropped a well-fought contest losing in the final seconds 57-53.
Cougar junior, Alissa Burgi, after a Cougar steal, stopped at the top of the key and let fly a three-point attempt that bounced harmlessly two or three times around the rim before falling through the hoop. Burgi was also fouled on the shot and converted her free-throw attempt for a rare four-point play. The scoring opportunity came at a critical 4th quarter moment for both teams. The Cougars never looked back and held on for the needed victory.
On the boys’ side, a three-point attempt from Cougar guard, Braden Nielsen, missed its mark with under 10 seconds left in the contest with the Cougars down to the Utes by 2 points. The Cougars led the entire game until the last minute when the Utes converted on a Cougar turnover, taking the lead.
Nielsen, who finished with a game high 21 points, offered an outstanding and athletic play that electrified the crowd in the 1st quarter. Driving from the right corner, Nielsen executed an acrobatic left-handed bank shot from the baseline and around a Ute defender. Sophomore center, Jath Mansfield, had his best game of the year with nine points and several rebounds for the Cougars.