Union falls to California on last-second shot
Union (44) Vs. California (46)
Feb 18, 2015
By Andrew Koob
New Castle News

BRIDGEVILLE — Kass Taylor drove to the right side of the basket and shot a contested running layup with seven seconds remaining.

The shot hit the front of the rim, bounced up and went through the nylon, taking the Union High boys basketball team’s season down with it.

Taylor’s shot helped hold off a Union comeback, scoring the final basket in a 46-44 California victory in the WPIAL Class A playoff opener last night.

“We got lucky, we got a bucket that finally fell in,” California coach Bruno Pappasergi said. “I’m so proud of our kids, they played hard every second of the game.”

Union (11-11) had a final look to tie the game at the final whistle, but a Garrison Bell layup bounced off the rim was too strong.

“We got a good look coming back,” Union coach Mark Stanley said. “I was going to call timeout but I had (Anthony) Rush on the wing, I had Cornell (Charles) with the ball in his hands and Garrison running the floor. Got a shot, about an eight-footer and I thought it was going to go down.”

None of that would have mattered had the Scotties not battled back from an early deficit.

Union trailed by 11 points in the second half and, before bringing the deficit down to eight before the half, made its comeback bid with a 15-6 third quarter advantage.

That run was capped off by a Charles 3-pointer that gave Union the one-point lead heading into the fourth quarter.

“There’s no quit, there’s never been any quit,” Stanley said. “For where they were and what we’ve done, I’m happy with the effort they gave. I can’t fault the effort. We made some mistakes, I made some mistakes, we’re human. I think they can hold their heads high, I told them what John Wooden said, ‘you don’t have to cry from losing if you give your complete effort.’ And I think they did that. I didn’t see anybody out there not wanting to win, not wanting to try.”

California (17-5) tried to match tempo in a bid to try and stop the Union run. The result was a number of turnovers and easy transition buckets for both sides.

“They have good bodies, I think they’re athletic but I felt we could run with them,” Stanley said. “That’s why I wanted to press up a little bit, I thought we matched up well with their guards. I thought Garrison did a nice job on (Atrayo Matthews). At times we’d let something slip, but that’s growth and those are things we need to improve on for next year.”

Charles finished the game with a game-high 17 points, while Bell added 10 points. Taylor paced the Trojans with 12 points, none bigger than his final two.

The Trojans had opportunities to seal the win earlier, but missed free throws on the front end of two one-and-ones. That opened the door for Constantin Padure, whose putback layup off of a Charles miss with 34 seconds remaining tied the game at 44.

“We knew they were going to cut our wings off and they made us run our offense very different than we’ve ever run it,” Pappasergi said. “But our kids held on, we missed some foul shots at the end of the game, but I’m proud of the kids. Our defense was excellent today.”

(Email: A_Koob@ncnewsonline.com)

Nightly Roundup
Feb 18, 2015 Nightly Roundups
Game Scoreboard
Union 10 10 15 9 0 44
California 10 18 6 12 0 46
Box Scores
Johnny DeFranco 2 0-0 5
Atrayo Matthews 4 0-0 9
Jaycee Conaway 0 2-2 2
Kass Taylor 5 1-3 12
Dylan Hammitt 1 1-2 3
Malik Jackson 4 0-0 9
Casey Zajicek 2 2-2 6
Totals: 18 6-9 46
UNION (44)
Garrison Bell 3 4-6 10
Cornell Charles 7 1-1 17
Jullian Johnson 2 0-0 4
Dominick Dudo 0 0-0 0
Anthony Rush 2 2-2 8
Joey Crivelli 0 0-0 0
Timmy Sumner 0 0-0 0
Tre’von Charles 0 1-2 1
Constantin Padure 2 0-0 4
Totals: 16 8-11 44

CALIFORNIA 10 18 6 12 — 46
UNION 10 10 15 9 — 44

3-point goals — California 4 (DeFranco 1, Matthews 1, Taylor 1, Jackson 1), Union 4 (Rush 2, C. Charles 2).
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