Inconsistent play hurts Scotties in section loss
Union (59) Vs. Sewickley (69)
Jan 18, 2008

SEWICKLEY — One big quarter just wasn’t enough.

After trailing Sewickley Academy by 15 points at the half, the Union boys basketball team turned in a near-perfect third period to cut the deficit to four.

The Panthers, however, led by Division I prospect Tom Droney, outplayed the Scotties in the final quarter to steal a 69-59 WPIAL Section 1-A verdict and hand Union its second section defeat.

Actually, it was Sewickley Academy’s second-quarter effort that did the most damage.

The Panthers started on an 8-0 run and ended on a 14-3 stretch in the second quarter. Sewickley Academy (6-2 section, 8-7 overall) outscored Union, 24-8, to go up 41-16 at the half.

“We lost this game in the second quarter,” Scotties coach Dave Smialowski said. “They went on that big run and you spend a lot of time coming back from that. Then you have to try to sustain it and we didn’t while making bad decisions.”

Union (7-2, 11-5) had countless opportunities but couldn’t convert.

“It was like the rim was so tight,” Smialowski said. “We’d hit the middle of the rim and it would just pop out.”

The third quarter was a much different story.

The Scotties opened on a 13-0 run before outscoring the Panthers, 17-6, to make it a 47-43 ballgame.

Sophomore guard Anthony Thomas scored nine of his 21 total points in the third quarter. He had 16 in the second half alone.

Jason Burkes followed with 13 points for Union.

“We were just spreading the floor and letting (Thomas) go,” Smialowski said. “We were doing the same thing with Jason. They’re a nice two-headed monster to have. They both can handle the ball, beat you off the dribble and they both have a nice pop-up jumper.”

Union also took advantage of six Sewickley Academy turnovers in the third.

“We really weren’t sure who they were guarding and they took advantage of that,” Panthers coach Win Palmer said. “Offensively, I don’t know what offense we were running and that’s on me.”

That’s when Droney took control of the Sewickley Academy offense.

The 6-foot-5 sophomore guard, who is already being heavily recruited by Pitt and Duquesne, as well as North Carolina, Duke, Penn State, Ohio State, Virginia and Notre Dame, scored 13 of his game-high 23 points in the fourth quarter.

“We were getting the ball out of Droney’s hands (in the third quarter),” Smialowski said. “Droney’s a great player as a sophomore and it’s easier when it’s out of his hands.”

Senior guard Jordon Rooney, who stands six inches shorter than Droney at 5-9, had the chore of defending the standout and helped contain him to 10 markers in the first half.

“Jordon Rooney did an excellent job and he’s a little undersized,” Smialowski said. “Jordon brings it all the time and he’s not going to back down from anybody.”

Playing with a soft cast on his right hand, Droney played in his second game since breaking his thumb at Union on Dec. 14.

“Droney ... he’s a player,” Palmer said. “He struggled in the third quarter and played in the fourth quarter. That’s what good players do. He’s not always going to play great all four quarters and plus Union played good defense on him.”

Sam Dunderdale was also a menace as turned in a 14-point effort for the Panthers.

Despite the loss, the Scotties remain atop the section standings ahead of Lincoln Park (6-2) and Sewickley Academy.

“I told the kids not to hang their heads because we’ll be fine,”
Smialowski said. “We still control our own destiny.

“We haven’t clinched a playoff spot, but this is just a bump in the road.”
Nightly Roundup
Game Scoreboard
Union 59 0 0 0 0 59
Sewickley 69 0 0 0 0 69
Box Scores
Field Goals Attempted Foul Shots Made Foul Shots Three Points Total Points Fouls
#3 Linnell Robinson000000
#23 Jason Burkes5212130
#25 Markus Allen142060
#10 Jordon Rooney200040
#1 Anthony Thomas9003210
#20 Jordan Clingensmith244190
#34 Matt Adamo100020
#40 Donte Calhoun200040
#12 Nick DeCesare000000
#32 Anthony Forletta000000
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