Union limits Monessen boys, finds way into quarterfinals

Saturday, February 15, 2020 | 9:45 PM

The Union boys basketball team won a rock fight against Monessen, nabbing a 46-41 victory in the first round of the WPIAL Class A playoffs at North Hills Middle School on Saturday.

Seventh-seeded Monessen got off to a good start, taking a 7-2 lead, before an 11-2 run by No. 10 Union put the Scotties up 13-9 after the first.

Monessen seniors Marquell Smith and Taylon Lowe combined for all nine first-quarter points, while Union’s Matthew Stanley and Vince Fuleno did the bulk of the damage for the Scotties.

The second quarter was a struggle for both squads, Monessen barely outscored Union, 5-4, with all five points coming from Monessen’s DaWayne Howell. But it was the Scotties that took a 17-14 lead into the third quarter.

“We didn’t do a good enough job of taking care of the basketball when we did get it where we wanted,” Monessen head coach Dan Bosnic said. “We were weak with the ball and doing things that ended up being turnovers instead of opportunities with the ball.”

The Greyhounds scored the first two field goals of the third to take an 18-17 lead but were outscored 14-5 the rest of the quarter.

Union put the pedal down with a shot in the arm from Anthony Stanley, who scored five consecutive points to break a 19-19 tie. Union wouldn’t surrender that lead.

The teams traded baskets and free throws the rest of the way, as Monessen worked to close the gap by making a final push in the closing minutes to narrow a double-digit Union lead to just five, but the Greyhounds ran out of time and the Scotties hung on for the win.

“I thought we were able to find that open man better in the second half,” Union head coach Mark Stanley said. “It was ugly, but in the playoffs, I’d rather win ugly than lose pretty.”

“We gave up 46 points. We didn’t do a bad job defensively. We played good enough to win the game, defensively,” Bosnic said. “At the same time, I don’t think we did enough on the back side to create enough opportunities for ourselves in the half court.”

Up next for Union is a Thursday game against the first-place team in Section 2-A, Bishop Canevin, which had a first-round bye and was in the house to scout its next opponent.

“We play hard,” Stanley said. “I don’t think we played our best basketball, and we were still able to win. I think our section gets us ready. All due respect to Bishop Canevin, we play Cornell, Vincentian and Nazareth Prep, so I think they prepare us for these types of games.

“We have to definitely play better against Canevin, but hopefully it’s a smoother game and we’ll play a little better and see what we can do against them.”

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