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HOT HAND: Breckin Minich Strikes for 25 as Redbank Valley Downs Union in KSAC Battle

RIMERSBURG, Pa. (EYT/D9) — There are nights when Breckin Minich is in the starting lineup.

There are nights when he is not. 

Doesn’t matter to the junior guard on the Redbank Valley boys basketball team. 

“As long as we win,” Minich said, cracking a smile. 

(Pictured above, Breckin Minich was named the Hager Paving Incorporated Player of the Game)

Minich was in the starting five against Union on Wednesday night and made the most of it, scoring seven points in the first quarter to help get the Bulldogs going and adding 11 more in the fourth to aid Redbank in putting the finishing touches on a 69-47 KSAC victory. 

Minich ended up with a game-high 25 points. 

“That’s the mentality of all our guys. It doesn’t matter who starts,” said Redbank Valley coach Emmanuel Marshall. “Just because a person starts doesn’t mean that he’s going to start all the time because we switch up, go big, go small, whoever has the hot hand. Breckin has been playing some pretty good ball over the last three games.”

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Redbank Valley, Keystone, and Union/A-C Valley sports coverage on Explore and is brought to you by Heeter Lumber.

Minich hit four 3-pointers as part of his big night, including three in the fourth as the Bulldogs pushed their lead to 28. 

Union, though, made a couple of runs at Redbank during the game. 

The Golden Knights trailed by 10 early, but whittled that down to four midway through the second quarter before the Bulldogs closed out the half on a run of their own to lead 38-25 at the break. 

Redbank moved ahead by 18 early in the third quarter, but Union made another big push, quickly trimming that deficit to nine and had possession on a fast break. 

But Mason Clouse raced back to swat away a shot to stall the Knights’ momentum. 

“Everyone on our team can have a good night on any day,” said Clouse, who scored just four points — all from the free throw line — but made a big difference in other ways. “If one guy is hitting shots, then the other guys need to crash the boards, get rebounds and get blocks. I guess that was me tonight.”

Redbank withstood both runs thanks to exceptional shooting. 

Union struggled to get stops on the defensive end, to the lament of Golden Knights’ coach Eric Mortimer. 

“They shot lights out,” Mortimer said, shrugging. “Not much you can do about that. They hit shot after shot. I told them they were playing good defense. They were just shooting so well.”

Good shooting can cure most ills and it helped Redbank Valley withstand the inevitable momentum swings to Union’s favor.

That and a relentlessness on both ends of the floor for the Bulldogs.

“That’s the game of basketball. It’s a matter of runs and if you can survive them,” Marshall said. “We just strung together a few more runs than they did. They definitely fought back, clawed back and played great. It was just our night. We shot the ball well. 

“Any of our five guys can scored 20 to 25 points in a game,” Marshall added. “It’s just a matter of who’s gonna do it. We’re just trying to keep playing good basketball moving forward.”

Braylon Wagner also had the hot hand in the opening quarter, scoring seven of his 11 points. Kieran Fricko also scored 11 for Redbank.

Trey Fleming led Union with 13 points. Dawson Camper added 12 points and eight rebounds. 

Both teams have big final conference games ahead. 

Redbank will take on Clarion at home on Saturday night with the top seed in the KSAC tournament on the line. 

Union will play a Karns City. A win by the Golden Knights could present a three-way tie with the Knights, Gremlins and Clarion-Limestone for the final two spots in the tourney. 

Each of those three teams would have defeated each other. 

“I’m not sure how the tiebreakers would work,” Mortimer said. “I was hoping to just win these final two and not worry about it.”

Here is what is thought would happen under that scenario.

Should Union win and Clarion-Limestone take care of business against Forest, all three of those teams would be 8-3 in the KSAC. But Clarion-Limestone would secure one of the spots thanks to a 55-49 win over Clarion on Jan. 29.

That would mean Karns City would be the team on the outside looking in.

“We’ll just see what happens on Friday,” Mortimer said.

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Redbank Valley, Keystone, and Union/A-C Valley sports coverage on Explore and is brought to you by Heeter Lumber.