No. 6 Union tops No. 11 Clairton with barrage of third-quarter 3-pointers
By: Chris Harlan
Thursday, February 14, 2019 | 1:30 AM
Union followed a nine-point second quarter with a 29-point third, and the difference was a few well-timed 3-pointers.
“When one guy hits a 3, we all feel that momentum boost — and it’s a good feeling,” said Scotties senior Seth Pinkerton, who combined with Nathan Meeks and Michael Flowers for a quick barrage of 3s as No. 6 Union defeated No. 11 Clairton, 76-69, Friday night in a WPIAL Class A first-round game at Hampton.
Combined, the trio went 5 for 8 from the arc in the third, and Union outscored Clairton by 11 points in the quarter. The 3-pointers flipped a three-point halftime deficit to an eight-point Union lead after three.
“I thought eventually they’d start falling,” said Meeks, who led the Scotties with four 3s. “Once they did, I knew we would get going.”
Union scored 29 points in the entire first half, and then doubled its total in the first 8 minutes after halftime. Pinkerton scored a team-high 24 points, Meeks and Vince Fuleno each had 16 and Flowers added 15 – all in the second half.
“We knew that they had four guys who could knock down a 3,” Clairton coach Matt Geletko said. “Some of their shots didn’t fall as much in the first half, but they came out on fire in that third quarter.”
Union (17-6) will face third-seeded Nazareth Prep on Thursday. The Scotties lost twice in the regular season to the Section 1 opponent, 76-61 and 74-41.
Dom Solomon led Clairton (9-11) with 26 points, Brendan Parsons had 14, Andress Wiggins had 12 and Leonard Robinson added 10.
Clairton led 32-29 at halftime behind 17 first-half points from Solomon. The senior took 15 first-half shots and made eight, causing Union trouble with his ability to get to the basket.
But Union face-guarded Solomon in the second half and he was held scoreless in the third. He rallied back with nine in the fourth, but the Bears couldn’t close the gap.
“We started getting the ball out of his hands,” Union coach Mark Stanley said. “That was a key for us.”
Union’s high-scoring third quarter was the difference.
The Scotties had made only four shots in the second quarter but went 11 for 17 from the field in the third. That hot shooting sparked an 11-0 run that stretched into the fourth quarter.
After consecutive layups by Pinkerton and Flowers, the Scotties held a 62-50 lead with 7:20 left in the fourth.
Overall, Union went 9 for 21 from the arc.
“That’s what we do, that’s who we are,” Stanley said. “We take a lot of them.”
Chris Harlan is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Chris by email at [email protected] or via Twitter .