Union boys upend Clairton to advance
Union (60) Vs. Clairton (54)
Feb 23, 2017
By Joe Sager
New Castle News
McKEES ROCKS — There was no extra running for Union High’s boys basketball team Thursday night.
The Scotties can thank K'Von Huddleston for that.
The Union senior swished all four of his free-throw attempts in the final 37.6 seconds to secure his team's 60-54 triumph over Clairton in a WPIAL Class A quarterfinal at Montour High School.
"We practice it every day. If we make our free throws, we don't have to run, so this was nice," Huddleston said. "This is a big win. We needed this one."
Ahead 56-52 in the final minute, Huddleston was fouled with 37.6 seconds remaining. He converted both shots of a one-and-one situation from the charity stripe. After the Bears (17-6) trimmed the deficit to 58-54 with 8.2 seconds left, Huddleston went to the line again and swished both gifters with 7.1 ticks to go.
"K'Von is clutch. He's not nervous," Union coach Mark Stanley said. "He's probably going up there with other thoughts in his head and there's no doubt he'd knock them down."
The win put Union (18-6) in Monday’s semifinals against top-seeded Monessen (16-7), a 79-61 winner over Eden Christian and also locked up a state playoff berth.
"They get the ball up the floor. They are as good as advertised," Stanley said. "You have to play them sometime; let's go see what we can do."
The Greyhounds raced paced the Scotties, 112-62, in last year's quarterfinals.
"They beat us pretty badly last year. It ain't happening this year," Huddleston said. "They have a pretty big size advantage, but it won't matter. We have to rebound."
Union gained control against the Bears in the second quarter. The Scotties carried a 32-26 lead into intermission.
Clairton made a run in the middle of the third quarter, but Union shook off the Bears' pressure defense and used an 8-2 spree to increase its lead to 47-37.
"We knew they were going to pressure us," Huddleston said. "We practiced with eight and six guys on the court on defense. We weren't going to get scared of the pressure."
Tre Charles scored a game-high 19 points for Union. However, he turned into a playmaker in the fourth quarter. He did not register a point, but the Scotties' offense flowed through the junior guard.
"I told him before the game that I didn't care if he had 20 turnovers; he had to have the ball in his hands," Stanley said. "I don’t think there's any doubt who the best player on the floor was tonight. He controlled the game offensively and he got us to where other guys could get shots and it was a matter of everyone else chipping in. It was a fantastic win."
Charles was glad to be an offensive catalyst.
"It feels great to win. It's nice to see my teammates step up, too," he said. "We played good defense and had to score on offense. We played with a lot of heart. We have a lot of confidence."
Huddleston finished with 12 points, while Constantin Padure added 10.
"These guys are not the rattling type. Sometimes, I wonder if they are focused," Stanley said. "But, they've never not answered the bell for me. It's a tribute to them."