Union 53, Sewickley 43
Sewickley (43) Vs. Union (53)

Running offenses was no easy task last night at Union High School.

Why? Well, Scotties head coach Dave Smialowski put his finger on the Sewickley Academy defense.

As for the Panthers, they put Tom Droney’s thumb on an ice pack.

Droney, a sophomore point guard who already has caught the eye of NCAA Division I recruiters, scored 10 first-half points in the two teams’ WPIAL Section 1-A clash at Mike Covelli Field House. He spent the final two quarters on the bench, though, after hurting his thumb just before halftime, and the Scotties ground out a 53-43 victory.

“It was sort of an ugly game,” said Smialowski, whose team got a game-high 17 points from junior Jason Burkes. “Their man-to-man defense, they do a lot of switching, and it’s tough to run our offense when they switch alot.

“But we attacked it the way we should have, and we made some good adjustments, and it was a nice win for us.”

Smialowski and Sewickley Academy head coach Win Palmer both made note of Droney’s absence in the second half, but neither was ready to call it a game-changing circumstance.

“He’s a good player, but (with Jordon Rooney shadowing Droney in Union’s own man defense) I thought we contained him pretty well the first half,” Smialowski said. “I was confident going into the second half.

“And their other kids played well when he wasn’t in there. They gave us a good game.”

Palmer took a similar view.

“He’s a tremendous player, but I didn’t want to take any chances,” Palmer said. “He’s got all sorts of scholarship offers already as a sophomore. Penn State’s coming to practice Monday, Pitt was at his last game, Notre Dame’s coming, Duke’s coming — you can’t risk that. If we lose a game, we lose a game.

“But what I was really pleased about is that we’re actually an incredibly young team (with only one senior on the roster), and even though we lost Tom in the second half, the rest of the guys stepped up and played well. And I have to give Union all the credit in the world. They came to play. Even if we have Tom, I don’t know if we win the second half anyhow.”

Union (3-0, 4-2) got off to a 10-1 start, but the Panthers (1-2, 2-4) tied the score at 10-all by the end of the first quarter. The squads moved the deadlock to 15-15 midway through the second quarter before the Scotties went on an 11-3 run the rest of the period. Anthony Thomas and Donte Calhoun had two buckets each to spark the uprising.

Union then extended its lead to 32-18 early in the third period, after which Sewickley Academy got within single digits only once — 48-40 with 51 seconds left. A 6-of-13 effort at the foul line in the fourth quarter helped seal the Panthers’ fate.

Sewickley Academy finished with a 39-37 edge in rebounding, but only after spotting the Scotties a 23-14 advantage on the boards in the first half.

“We didn’t box out well in the first half,” Palmer conceded. “We did better in the second half. We were also missing another starter tonight (6-foot-3 forward David Bonomo), who has the flu.

“He’s our most physical guy, and no doubt, we gave up too many offensive rebounds.”

Behind Burkes, Union got 10 points from Thomas, nine from Matt Adamo and eight from Jordan Clingensmith.

“That’s what we’re looking for — balance,” Smialowski said. “Balance makes you so much more effective.

“But I believe that any one of our guys can go off, and I think that’s what makes us even a little more dangerous.”
Game Scoreboard
Sewickley 10 8 9 16 0 43
Union 10 16 12 15 0 53
Box Scores
Field Goals Attempted Foul Shots Made Foul Shots Three Points Total Points Fouls
#23 Jason Burkes6432170
#25 Markus Allen100020
#10 Jordon Rooney100020
#1 Anthony Thomas4220100
#20 Jordan Clingensmith331180
#34 Matt Adamo275090
#40 Donte Calhoun221050
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