Reinvigorated Scotties clinch playoff berth
Vincentian (56) Vs. Union (75)
Jan 22, 2008

Clenching his teeth and stomping his feet, Dave Smialowski met his players on the court.

The Union High boys basketball coach had seen this team get complacent down the stretch before. It happened last year when Smialowski was an assistant and the Scotties missed the playoffs by one game.

So last night, when Vincentian cut Union’s 25-point lead to 12 early in the third quarter, he called out his players on their defense, hustle, smarts and everything else he could think of during a timeout.

Call it tough love.

In the end, the Scotties proved to be too fast, too deep and too talented for the Royals in a 75-56 WPIAL Section 1-A win at home. Then a smiling Smialowski moved down his bench to shake the hand of every player, congratulating them on making the playoffs.

They’re in. They’re excited. And if they play like they did in spurts last night, they are a matchup nightmare.

Union (8-2 section, 12-5 overall) didn’t take long to heat up. Junior guard Jason Burkes scored 12 points in the first quarter. His back-to-back 3-pointers gave the Scotties a 16-2 lead.

With the Royals flustered by Union’s uptempo offense and aggressive defense, they rarely looked comfortable.

By the time Scotties’ forward Markus Allen bulled his way for a layup, it was 30-5 with 4:40 left in the second quarter.

“We were frustrated with the way we played at Sewickley (a 69-59 loss last Friday) so we wanted to come out fast and get on them,” said Burkes, who had 20 points and five rebounds.

Union led 37-18 at the half, but Vincentian went on a quick 12-5 run to cut it to 42-30.

That is when Smialowski had seen enough.

“We were relaxed right there,” Smialowski said. “We had turnovers, breakdowns, I just told them we can’t do this.”

The way they responded put to bed any thought of a Royals (2-7, 3-15) comeback.

Nick DeCesare and Donte Calhoun came off the bench to score the next 12 points. DeCesare’s baseline jumper made it 54-34 late in the third quarter.

Calhoun had his best game of his career, scoring 20 points — all by getting great position underneath for layups and putbacks — and grabbing seven rebounds.

“Donte’s minutes will go way up if he keeps playing like that,” Smialowski said. “When you get position like he did, it’s an easy game.”

The Scotties had a 40-15 rebounding edge. Their bench outscored Vincentian’s 38-7.

That is why they will be dangerous in the playoffs.

Other than Burkes and Calhoun, Allen (eight points, seven rebounds) and Jordan Clingensmith (eight points, six rebounds) also played well.

In his first year as head coach, Smialowski won’t rest on the fact that his team has qualified for the playoffs. He told his guys to gear up for the next two games — Friday at Monaca (4-5) and Tuesday at home against Lincoln Park (7-2). If they win both, they will at least share a piece of the section title.

As the clock ticked down and he realized his team was in the playoffs, Smialowski was visibly happy for his seniors, especially Jordon Rooney, Linnell Robinson and Allen, whom he coached on the junior varsity team for two years.

“They’re a good group of kids,” Smialowski said. “We’re in and we’re ready for it.”
Nightly Roundup
Game Scoreboard
Vincentian 5 13 18 20 0 56
Union 22 15 19 19 0 75
Box Scores
Field Goals Attempted Foul Shots Made Foul Shots Three Points Total Points Fouls
#32 Anthony Forletta000000
#1 Anthony Thomas300060
#10 Jordon Rooney000000
#20 Jordan Clingensmith300280
#23 Jason Burkes9002200
#34 Matt Adamo200040
#3 Linnell Robinson221050
#25 Markus Allen410080
#12 Nick DeCesare200040
#40 Donte Calhoun10000200
Home | Game Schedules | Archive Coverage | Player of the Week
Lets Talk Basketball | BasketBlog | Big Shots
Copyright ©
All rights reserved. Do not duplicate or redistribute in any form.
Site Designed By: MotionLX, LLC