Union too much for Quigley
Union (78) Vs. Quigley (60)
By Andrew Petyak
New Castle News

ALIQUIPPA — The Union High boys basketball team is right where it wants to be.

A 32-point outburst in the fourth quarter gave the Scotties to a 78-60 victory over Quigley Catholic in the first round of the WPIAL Class A playoffs at Aliquippa High last night, propelling them to the second round.

Union forward Markel Peace recorded a career-high 31 points, including 14 in the fourth quarter alone.

“We ran the guard, distributed the ball well and created open looks,” Peace said. “Eyes were up on the court all the time. Everybody was looking to push the ball up.”

The Scotties will face off against Clairton in the second round on Friday at a time and place to be announced. The fifth-seeded Bears (14-6) earned the matchup by rolling past St. Joseph, 74-38, last night.

“It always feels good. It always feels good to win. With this group, we know they have it in them,” Union coach Dave Smialowski said. “That’s where we got last year (the second round), we want to get to that next level now. They’re ready for this.”

The fourth-seeded Scotties (17-5) jumped out to a quick 8-3 advantage in the first quarter, but the 13th-seeded Spartans responded, going on an 8-0 run of their own.

The teams remained close until the end of the second quarter. With the score at 25-23 with 4:13 left remaining in the half, Union went on an 11-0 run to extend its lead to 13. Guard Joe Salmen scored all seven of his first-half points during the run, highlighted by an impressive play in which he showed off his ball-handling skills by eluding two defenders for a layup with six seconds left. Salmen finished the game with 16 points and was 11 of 12 from the free-throw line.

Quigley Catholic (11-12) was held to eight points in the second quarter as the Scotties’ defense adjusted to the inside moves of threats Zach Herman and Jay Fyda. Herman posted a team-high of 20 points. Fyda was next with 14.

“They’ve got two very good basketball players who take you off the dribble really well. It was making our guys come and help a lot and they were getting some easy ones,” Smialowski said. “We were limiting them to one shot (in the second quarter). I thought our half-court defense played better at that time. We were stopping their penetration and we were making the easy ones.”

Union was able to establish a quick transition game toward the end of the third quarter. Peace and teammate Tre Major used their athleticism to get behind the Spartans defense and drive to the basket, resulting in free-throw opportunities and easy layups. Peace finished 10 of 12 from the foul line. Major was second on the team with 20 points, with seven of those coming in the final quarter.

“We were running the court a lot. As soon as we picked up the momentum, it just came along,” Peace said.

Peace, who put an exclamation mark on his performance with a high-flying dunk late in the fourth, knows history can’t repeat itself in the second round if the Scotties hope to reach the semifinals. Union fell in the second round last year to North Catholic, 49-33.

“Last year, we came in and won the first one like this one. But then we came out cold and lost the second-round game,” he said. “This year, we’re coming out for revenge to get that second-round win.”

Asked how Union can prevent another second-round disappointment, Peace responded, “Come out and play like we just did.”

(Email: a_petyak@ncnewsonline.com).
Game Scoreboard
Union 17 19 10 32 0 78
Quigley 15 8 15 22 0 60
Box Scores
Anthony Herman 2 2-2 6
Zach Herman 6 6-11 20
Kevin Hein 4 0-0 8
Nate Lieb 3 0-2 6
Jay Fyda 5 4-4 14
Peter Majewski 0 0-0 0
Austin Zurik 3 0-0 6
Zack Yanko 0 0-0 0
Kyle Cardwell 0 0-0 0
Jakob Schuster 0 0-0 0
Jack Allman 0 0-0 0
Totals: 23 12-19 60

UNION (78)
Markel Peace 10 10-12 31
Joe Salmen 2 11-12 16
Tre Major 9 1-4 20
Drew Robinson 0 0-0 0
Benjamin Young 2 0-1 4
Wayne Seamans 2 0-0 5
John Hilke 0 0-0 0
Tyrone May 0 0-0 0
Jacob Jendrysik 0 2-2 2
Elijah Williams 0 0-0 0
Totals: 25 24-31 78

UNION 17 19 10 32 — 78
QUIGLEY 15 8 15 22 — 60

3-point goals — Quigley Catholic 2 (Z. Herman 2); Union 4 (Peace 1, Major 1, Salmen 1, Seamans 1).
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