The Union basketball Lady ’Cats earned their ninth victory of the season and first of 2013 Thursday, defeating Jefferson 50-21.

“All Christmas break we stressed the importance of our need to improve our defense, including ball pressure, three-point line closeouts, team boxouts and help side penetration,” said Union Head Coach Grant Young. It really showed the first half of action. We only allowed one offensive rebound first half.”

Union (9-3) will host the Union Tournament next week, opening action against fourth-seeded Borgia Tuesday at 7:15 p.m.

Jefferson came into Thursday’s game with 10 victories against one loss, but Union controlled the entire game.

Union led Jefferson by a 28-5 score at the half.

Alyssa Coons led Union in scoring with 18 points.

“Alyssa came out on fire,” Young said. “She scored 16 points first half making three threes and going 5-5 from the free-throw line.”

Rachael Bassett scored 16 points while playing in three quarters.

Whitney Vitt scored seven points while Anna Houston, Jillian Johnston, Kaila AuBuchon and Maddy Weinhold scored two points apiece. Megan Altemueller ended the game with one point.

“Even though Abbie Brack didn’t scored she is such a court leader for us every game,” Young said. “We know she is always there for the big basket and during the game she did a great job finding the hot hand with Alyssa.”

Union Tournament

Union hosts the Union Tournament starting Monday.

Games Monday feature second-seeded Helias playing seventh-seeded Washington at 6 p.m. and third-seeded Eureka meeting sixth-seeded St. Charles West at 7:15 p.m.

On Tuesday, top-seeded Sullivan plays eighth-seeded Madison College Prep at 6 p.m. Fourth-seeded Borgia plays fifth-seeded Union at 7:15 p.m.

Consolation semifinals are set for Thursday while the championship semifinals will be played Friday.

Action Saturday, Jan. 12, will start with the seventh-place game at 1 p.m. The consolation game will follow at 2:30 p.m. The third-place game is set for 4 p.m. with the title contest at 5:30 p.m.