Despite finishing just one win shy of a state championship, their 24-5 record made them the winningest team in Lady Indian Basketball history. They are also the only Randolph County girls basketball team to make to the state finals.
On the road to this season’s IHSAA Class A State Runner-Up title, the Union City “dream team” has not only made history, but has shattered the record books. As individuals, all five starters hold at least one Union City school record.
“Amazing! This team owns 60 percent of the total records,” stated Assistant Coach Keith Fields.
Senior Courtney Wise holds the record in numerous categories, including most points in a game (39), in a season (416) and career (1,178). Her superb scoring ability led to securing the most two-point baskets in a season (169), career (463), best percentage in a game (10/10) and best career percentage (52.3). Defensively, Courtney has the most blocks in a game (7), season (63) and career (176).
“Truly a blessing to exceed our goals as a family and bring pride back to our community,” Wise said about the season and all the team’s success over the past few years.
Senior Baylee Hartman is definitely known for crashing the boards for the Lady Indians. She claimed the rebound record for the most in a season (338) and career (855). Baylee also has her name next to the most steals in a game (11), which is pretty impressive for a post player.
“It’s been an unbelievable ride and I wouldn’t trade it for the world! I can’t believe it’s over,” added Hartman.
Senior Kelsey Zimmers has been UC’s long-range shooter. She holds the record for most three-pointers in a season (55), career (112) and is tied for most treys in single game (6).
“It was a dream season! It’s truly amazing how much God can do in your life….I’m so thankful,” contributed Zimmers.
Senior Kora Kerns is known for her speed and has been a key component in the Lady Indian defensive pressure. She has the record for most career steals (291) on the team.
“This was a season most teams dream of, but we were able to live and love it,” Kerns said.
Junior Justiss Cantu was the only non-senior starter for Union City this season. The team’s 5-foot tall point guard is known for her outstanding ball control and finding openings in the opposing defense when it counts. Cantu holds school record for most assists in a game (14), season (133) and career (358).
“Difficult to see the season end. They’re my best friends, the closest thing I have to sisters,” Cantu sadly stated about her senior teammates.
As a team, the Lady Indians have won the Tri-Eastern Conference the last three years – winning it outright for the 2016-17 season. They have emerged victorious as back-to-back Holiday Tournament Champions and Sectional Champions the last two seasons. With their biggest accomplishments in the tournament of bringing home the hardware this season as IHSAA Class A Regional Champions and made history as the only UCHS Semi-State winners and State Finals Runner-Up.
Prayer huddle following game with Randolph County, TEC rival Winchester. (Clinton Randall photo)
Aside from the records and championships, this team will definitely be remembered by many for always inviting the opposing team to center court, following every game, for a prayer huddle and to give thanks to God for whom has bestowed so many blessings on not only the team, but the Union City community as a whole. They were even commended with a written letter ans signed basketball ball this year from four-time Olympic gold-medalist and former WNBA star, Tamika Catchings, for their spiritual display of sportsmanship.
“These girls will be remembered for what they have done for this community, this school, this county and even this state. They have amazing character that will carry with them throughout the rest of their lives!” said Head Coach Sarah Black, who surpassed her mentor this season as the all-time winningest coach at Union City with 85 wins.
Along with Cantu, junior Ellie Kerns, who had an incredible season coming off the bench, will return for the 2017-18 season with several other talented players and up-and-comers in hopes of continuing the winning legacy of Union City Lady Indians Basketball.
UC starting five from (L-R) are Justiss Cantu, Kelsey Zimmers, Courtney Wise, Baylee Hartman and Kora Kerns. (Clinton Randall photo)