RIMERSBURG, Pa. – Union utilized a huge 13-0 first half run to triumph 47-24 over visiting Cranberry on Friday night. After a balanced opening to the game, Union used the big run to surge ahead. The Knights’ momentum continued through the second half, and their tough defense ensured that the lead remained stable.
(Photo Courtesy of: Shelly Atzeni)
Caden Rainey led the Knights with 18 points, while Karter Vogle added 13 points. Brock Jordan’s inside presence played a major role for the Knights on both ends of the floor, chipping in with eight points. Union head coach Eric Mortimer credits Jordan’s offensive work in the post as jumpstarting his squads’ offense. “I think [our momentum] started when we starting posting Brock up down by the baseline. He could score there all night long.”
The first quarter was somewhat low scoring, as both teams struggled to score inside. Both Union and Cranberry exchanged buckets as the quarter went on. The Knights took advantage of offensive rebounds to score, while Cranberry started out hot from beyond the arc. Union asserted themselves late in the quarter, going on a 6-0 run to take a 12-8 lead after the opening period.
Union grew their lead to 10 in early in the second, as two Jordan buckets and a score from Rainey forced a Berries timeout. The timeout did nothing to deter the Knights, as Rainey scored twice more to quickly force another Berries timeout. After the timeout, JT Stahlman broke the scoring drought for Cranberry, ending a 13-0 Union run. The remainder of the quarter was bogged down by excessive fouling, preventing either team from finding their rhythm. Union’s strong defense and smoothly executed offense allowed the Knights to enjoy a 28-12 halftime lead.
The third quarter started off sloppy, as poor ball management from both sides made scoring a challenge. Amidst the sloppiness, Union’s Vogle was able use his inside strength to score the first six points of the quarter. The Knights kept their momentum rolling, scoring nine more unanswered points to increase their lead to 43-12 at the end of the third quarter. Union allowed zero points in the quarter, replicating the Damsels’ second quarter shutout performance just an hour earlier. Union’s 3-2 zone defense had the Berries stumped all night long, and Mortimer believes the zone defense favors his high chemistry lineup. “We move around well, and we play together well in the zone defense,” said Mortimer.
Both squads began to rotate their players in the fourth quarter, slowing down the tempo of the contest. The Berries took advantage of the slower pace by hitting three threes in a row. Union comfortably ran out the clock on the rest of the quarter, securing a 47-24 win.