New Union boys basketball Head Coach Christopher Simmons will take the milestones one at a time.

Simmons made his head coaching debut Tuesday at Festus. Unfortunately, the first win will have to wait until another night as Festus defeated the Wildcats, 79-49.

Festus built up an 18-6 lead after one quarter and was up 41-20 at the intermission. The host Tigers were ahead 65-37 after three quarters.

“I really believe we can be much better than what we showed against Festus,” Simmons said. “The things we have done in practice are not the same things we did Tuesday night. I am excited to see how we respond in practice this weekend and then against Christian. The Winfield Tournament is a big week that will really test how we respond.”

Union plays Christian (O’Fallon) Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. to start the Bank of Old Monroe Tip Off Classic. The tournament runs through Friday.

In the Festus game, Simmons indicated Festus used a quick tempo to jump on Union.

“Their pressure really sped us up and we played very timid and on our heels against it which caused turnovers and easy points,” Simmons said. “It pushed us out of the habits that we are trying to establish. They hit us early and we just could not seem to get our feet under us again. I was very proud of how my boys never quit. Even though the score didn’t change much, I never felt that they rolled over.”

Nick Ziegler led the Wildcats with 22 points.

“He got in early foul trouble which hurt us but really played well offensively in the second half,” Simmons said.

Blake Hulsey ended with 10 points while Ashton Dehn netted seven points for the Wildcats.