Lincoln Park tops Union in another thriller
Lincoln Park (56) Vs. Union (53)
Jan 27, 2009
By JOE SAGER
ncsports@ncnewsonline.com

Even though the rivalry is relatively new, it’s certainly intense.

Union High’s boys basketball team has played Lincoln Park five times since the Leopards joined the WPIAL prior to last season. All the meetings have come down to the last possession.

Last night, Lincoln Park held off the Scotties, 56-53, to complete a regular-season sweep of its WPIAL Section 1-A rival. Last year, the teams split their section encounters and Union prevailed in a playoff matchup.

“It’s amazing to me that every time we’ve played these guys, it’s always come down to one possession,” Union coach Dave Smialowski said. “It’s just amazing.”

This meeting appeared headed toward a lopsided finish as the Leopards (7-1 section, 12-5 overall) stormed to a 22-13 lead after the first quarter and carried a 34-21 advantage into halftime.

Justin Hosack was a big reason for the strong first-half showing. The 6-foot-2 senior guard swished his first four 3-pointers and racked up 22 points by intermission in just his fourth game of the season.

A transfer from Hopewell, Hosack was ruled ineligible by the WPIAL and PIAA this year as both organizations said the move was for athletic intent. On Jan. 16, a Beaver County judge overruled the decision, clearing the way for Hosack to play. Since then, he’s been unstoppable for the Leopards — averaging more than 25 points per contest.

“That’s the way we go. For him to be where he is after four games says a lot,” Lincoln Park coach Chris Raso said.

Hosack and David McCauley give the Leopards two of the WPIAL’s top players in Class A.

“Hosack is good. He played well in Class AAA basketball last year and now he’s in Class A,” Smialowski said. “He brings a different dimension to them. Before, they were a one-man show. Now, they have a nice tag-team duo.”

The Scotties (5-3, 10-7) did not seem intimidated by Hosack’s outburst. Union erupted for a 13-2 spree to open the third quarter to cut the deficit to 36-34 with 3:34 remaining in the frame.

“You know it’s going to come down to the wire. I love coaching against teams whose kids come out and play like that,” Raso said. “We could have a 20-point lead and you know something is going to happen — they are going to come back and make a run at you. This is just a good win for us on the road.”

Matt Ault, who had a team-best 18 points, tallied seven during the Scotties’ spree. His spinning layup with 27 seconds left in the quarter gave Union its only lead of the game, 40-38.

“Matt plays hard all the time,” Smialowski said. “He deserves to have a game like this.”

Union’s lead didn’t last long as Hosack drilled a trey at the buzzer to give Lincoln Park a 41-40 edge heading into the final quarter. The Leopards rode the momentum for three-straight McCauley hoops to open to frame for a 48-40 advantage.

“That 3-pointer took some air out of us. We worked hard all quarter to get back and he had a wide-open look,” Smialowski said. “Those are the little breakdown things we have to correct if we want to get to the next level.”

Once again, Union fought back. The Scotties cut the deficit to 48-46 with 1:06 remaining when Jason Burkes stripped the ball from McCauley and raced in for a layup. Lincoln Park turned the ball over on its next possession, but Union lost the ball out of bounds.

The teams traded hoops the rest of the way before the Scotties’ last-second desperation heave missed its target.

Anthony Thomas and Burkes added 12 points for Union. McCauley finished with 16 points for the Leopards.
Nightly Roundup
Game Scoreboard
Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 OT SCORE
Lincoln Park 22 12 7 15 0 56
Union 13 8 19 13 0 53
Box Scores
LINCOLN PARK (56)
Trey Hosack 1 0-0 2
Sean Shirley 1 1-2 3
Marcus Brown 1 1-2 3
Justin Hosack 11 4-4 32
David McCauley 7 2-3 16
Keith Hutchins 0 0-0 0
Cameron McDonald 0 0-0 0
Jevar Smith 0 0-0 0.
Totals: 21 8-11 56.

UNION (53)
Anthony Thomas 6 0-0 12
Nick DeCesare 2 1-2 5
Matt Ault 7 0-0 18
Anthony Forletta 2 0-0 4
Jason Burkes 5 2-4 12
Devonta Thomas 1 0-2 2
Mike Pelto 0 0-0 0.
Totals: 21 3-8 53.

LINCOLN PARK 22 12 7 15 — 56
UNION 13 8 19 13 53 — 53

3-point goals — Lincoln Park 6 (J. Hosack 6), Union 4 (Ault 4).
JV score: No game.
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