Union rally falls short in loss to Coudersport
Union (47) Vs. Coudersport (55)
CLARION — Union High had its back against the wall.

Working behind a 10-point deficit through most of the second half, the Scotties could have completely folded.

They, however, battled Coudersport down to the wire and got within a basket with less than two minutes remaining during the PIAA Class A second-round boys basketball playoff game.

But the undefeated Falcons remain perfect after holding on for a 55-47 decision last night at Clarion University’s Tippin Gymnasium.

Coudersport (29-0) advances to the quarterfinals and will face Kennedy Catholic (18-9) on Friday at a time and site yet to be determined. The Golden Eagles earned a 58-46 victory over Wilkinburg last night.

The Scotties’ only lead in the game was brief during the first quarter before the Falcons quickly emerged and the period closed with both tied at 10.

Coudersport, though, thrived in the second quarter and outscored Union by eight points to take a 28-20 advantage at the half.

“We got ourselves in a hole again,” Scotties’ first-year coach Dave Smialowski said. “And when you get yourself in a hole and then you get yourself back to where you needed to get to, you lose some of that energy.”

Blair Heimel, a 6-foot-6 senior center, paced the Falcons with 21 points and 15 rebounds. He scored 10 points in the second quarter alone.

Colton Corey also got into double figures for Coudersport. He had 10 points and five assists.

“We had a couple of kids step up and hit some big shots,” Coudersport coach Chris Fink said. “We’re always trying to get the ball to Blair. They defensively went inside more there against Heimel and that helped us and opened things up for some outside shots.

“We played good defense all year and even though I thought we were at a little bit of a disadvantage as far as quickness and athleticism, I thought our guys hung in there and did a good job defensively in that first half.”

Union found itself in trouble early as Matt Adamo picked up his second personal foul 1:24 into the game. As the 6-6 starting center sat on the bench, the Scotties struggled to contain Heimel.

“You have to play four quarters,” Smialowski said. “The big kid (Heimel) hurt us in the first half. We got ourselves in a little bit of foul trouble and that’s what hurt us in the second quarter.

“I can’t fault my kids’ effort, though. They played hard.”

The officiating was a factor as Union was branded with 22 fouls to Coudersport’s 13. The Scotties also were hit with a pair of technical fouls early in the third quarter. Union’s bench got one just minutes after Jordan Clingensmith received his for questioning a call.

According to the PIAA game manager, all three referees were from District 9. The Falcons are the reigning District 9 champions. The PIAA designates the officials.

“Adamo picked up two quick fouls. To me, in my eyes, they were tough calls,” Smialowski said. “You have to let them play a little bit and they weren’t letting us play. I don’t want to use it as an excuse or come off like I’m whining about it but they should let them play.”

Nevertheless, the Scotties continued to make a run.

Clingensmith scored eight of his game-high 23 points in the fourth quarter. He rifled in a pair of 3-pointers within a minute as Union made it 49-46 late in the game. Jason Burkes, who scored 10 points, hit a foul shot to give the Scotties their final point with 1:45 remaining.

“We didn’t finish the way we wanted to and we didn’t take care of the ball all that well,” Fink said. “But a lot of credit has to go to Union because they had some big shots down the stretch.

“They cranked up the defense and they made us look a little like we didn’t want to finish that game out.”

The Falcons, though, took advantage of two late turnovers to maintain their lead.

“We had two opportunities and we made two bad decisions,” said Smialowski, whose Scotties shot 16 of 52 from the field. “That has sort of been a problem all year — just in crunch time making the right decisions — and we didn’t make them there.”
Game Scoreboard
Union 10 10 13 14 0 47
Coudersport 10 18 11 16 0 55
Box Scores
Field Goals Attempted Foul Shots Made Foul Shots Three Points Total Points Fouls
#1 Anthony Thomas321180
#23 Jason Burkes3640100
#20 Jordan Clingensmith8441230
#40 Donte Calhoun100020
#32 Anthony Forletta000000
#10 Jordon Rooney220040
#3 Linnell Robinson010000
#25 Markus Allen000000
#34 Matt Adamo000000
Eric Babcock300170
Derek Burdick173160
Colton Corey4320100
John Hau100020
Blair Heimel7870210
Nate Minor400190
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