Boos bring out best in Riverside star
Riverside (54) Vs. Union (48)

Sometimes when you play on the road, you’re going to hear boos.

Usually that treatment is reserved for opposing players with enough talent to make a difference.

Jake Wickline was booed every time he touched the ball last night.

So perhaps it shouldn’t come as a surprise that he made the play of the game.

Wickline’s rebound off his own missed free-throw sealed Riverside High’s 54-48 nonsection win at Union.

The boos? Go ahead.

“I’d boo me, too,” said Wickline, who rushed for four touchdowns against the Scotties in their football game. “All these Tri-County schools should boo me for what we did in football.”

With 28 seconds to go and the Panthers up 51-48, Wickline was alone at the line (his teammates went to the other end of the court on defense) and the Scotties had four players ready to rebound.

He couldn’t have missed it any better.

“I knew where it was going so I followed my shot and beat everyone to it,” Wickline explained.

The rebound ended Union’s big run.

After Riverside’s Shane Rusnock’s 3-pointer made it 44-30 late in the third quarter, Union, spurred by Jordan Clingensmith, got it going. The senior guard had two steals and nine points in less than three minutes to cut the lead to 46-37 early in the fourth.

Clingensmith scored a game-high 21 points, something Scotties’ coach Dave Smialowski said is no suprise.

“He’s so active and he caught fire for us when we needed it,” Smialowski said. “He’s around everything.”

The deck seemed to be stacked against the Panthers, who were playing their fourth game in five days, and who had three football players on the floor who, as Wickline said, were not in prime basketball shape yet.

Just like football, when you have the lead, milk the clock.

Leading 50-41 with 4:23 left, Riverside coach John Rorick decided to run the four corner offense, not even looking for a shot.

The Panthers took two minutes off the clock before the possession ended with a turnover and a subsequent Markus Allen basket.

Trailing 51-45 with 35 seconds left, Clingensmith grabbed a missed Panthers’ free-throw, pulled up for a long 3-pointer right in front of the Union bench and drilled it. All of a sudden, it’s a one-possession game.

It would be the last point the Scotties would score as Wickline’s big rebound followed.

Clingensmith had three 3-pointers was the only Union player in double-figures. Jason Burkes added nine points and Matt Adamo scored six to go along with 12 rebounds.

Wickline led the Panthers with 19 points and six rebounds. Rusnock had 16 points and guard Mason Marion scored 10 points, including a pair of 3-pointers.

The loss ends the preseason exhibition schedule for the Scotties (1-2), who begin WPIAL Section 1-A play Friday at home against Western Beaver. Smialowski said that playing three Class AA schools (Riverside, Neshannock and Shenango) in the first week provided good competition.

“There’s no reason to hang our heads because it’s always good to play good teams to see where you’re at,” he said. “We have some things to work on, but the kids are playing their butts off and giving good effort. That’s all I can ask for.”
Game Scoreboard
Riverside 13 14 19 8 0 54
Union 15 6 13 14 0 48
Box Scores
Field Goals Attempted Foul Shots Made Foul Shots Three Points Total Points Fouls
Shane Rusnock6631160
Nico Baldelli000000
Jake Wickline51353190
Mason Marion4002100
Mike Vucelich020000
Tyler Kemp320060
Adam Smith100020
Ryan Ard021010
#23 Jason Burkes352190
#25 Markus Allen300060
#20 Jordan Clingensmith8223210
#34 Matt Adamo252060
#12 Nick DeCesare100020
#40 Donte Calhoun100020
#32 Anthony Forletta100020
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