Winning on the road at Hermann Friday night, the Union Wildcats finished Four Rivers Conference action with two league wins.
Union (8-14, 2-5) finished its sweep of Gasconade County schools with a 68-62 win over Hermann Friday night.
“I was very proud of the fight in our kids,” Union Head Coach Chris Simmons said. “We did not play perfect, but we made the plays we needed to make to win the game. Everybody stepped up and made big plays on the offensive end and defensively, it was a complete team effort.”
Hermann opened with a 16-9 lead after one quarter, but the Wildcats led 37-33 at the half and 52-48 after three quarters.
Leading Union’s scoring effort was junior Nick Ziegler, who netted 24 points with four rebounds, three assists and three steals.
Junior Tanner Bunch netted 11 points with three assists and a steal.
Senior Brian Borgmann scored 10 points and added eight rebounds, three blocked shots and one assist.
Freshman Ethan Hughes ended with eight points, one assist and one rebound
Sophomore Dillon Breeden finished with seven points, three rebounds and two assists.
Junior Kevin Curran scored six points with seven rebounds, one assist and a blocked shot.
And junior Andrei Ciot scored two points with three assists and two rebounds.
“Overall, we still have a lot of things to get better at but I was proud of our kids because of how they fought and handled pressure down the stress,” Simmons said.
Matthew Hug led Hermann in scoring with 16 points.
Josh Oetterer and Craig Winkelmann scored 12 points apiece and Josh Schannuth added 10 points.
Garrett Leimkuehler ended with six points, Collin Hart added four and Jordan Leicht closed with two points.
The Wildcats lost Monday night to Festus, 64-59. Union led 14-12 after one quarter, but trailed 29-25 at the half and 47-38 after three quarters.
“It was not a very pretty game,” Simmons said. “We had our chances late in the game to pull it out, but we just couldn’t get it done tonight. We made some costly mistakes in the third quarter and got down by nine until the fourth when we went on a 10-0 run to take the lead with about four minutes to go. We have been nails this year with the lead late in games but today we missed some chippy shots in around the bucket late and then we had to foul late.”
Four Wildcats hit double digits points in the game.
Ziegler led the team with 20 points, Hughes added 15, Breeden scored 13 and Borgmann added 11. Hughes had seven rebounds while Breeden and Borgmann each had six. Ziegler posted four assists.
“Dillon Breeden and Ethan Hughes played the best game of their careers,” Simmons said.
Last week, Union defeated Windsor Wednesday, 40-38. The Wildcats fell Tuesday in Four Rivers Conference action to Sullivan, 54-45.
Union held a 17-14 lead at halftime against the Owls and had to fight to come back in the closing minutes.
“We did not shoot well, we did not execute well, and we struggled to score,” Simmons said. “But, once again, the game changed late when our defense was taken up a notch. We were down 35-30 with three minutes to go and finished the game on a 10-3 run to win. It was not pretty but to finish like we did in a tough situation, I was very proud of our kids. We are getting better.”
Ziegler led Union’s attack with 12 points and added five rebounds.
Borgmann scored nine points and pulled down six rebounds.
Other scorers were Bunch with eight points, Ciot with four, Hughes with three and Breeden and Curran with two points apiece.
Facing the Sullivan Eagles for the first time since the St. James Tournament, Union gave the Eagles all they could handle.
Sullivan led 32-22 at the half, but Union cut the deficit to 41-38 after three quarters.
“We played our tails off,” Simmons said. “I was so proud of how we battled. They got up early on us and then we came out in the second half and really just played tougher and meaner than we have all year. We played within ourselves but just would not go away. We cut it down to three and then they made two consecutive threes to space it back out. I was so proud of how we competed. We just got after it.”
Ryan Juergens led the Eagles in scoring with 19 points and two steals.
Justin Biermann ended with 12 points, seven assists, seven rebounds and three steals.
Chris Erxleben scored eight points. Heath Schatz scored six points with nine rebounds, four assists, two blocked shots and one steal.
Michael McDermott scored four points, Logan Hoffman ended with three and Brent Davis scored two points.
Union was led by Borgmann, who scored 13 points with 11 rebounds and four blocked shots.
“Brian played probably his best game of his career,” Simmons said. “He played strong and under control while anchoring our defense. Everything started with our intensity on defense.”
Simmons gave credit to Curran and Breeden for their defensive effort in the game.
“Kevin and Dillon really set the tone up top defensively and totally changed the game with their activity,” Simmons said. “While they may not show up in the scorebook, they really changed the game. It was a total team effort.”
Two other Wildcats also reached double digits in scoring.
Ziegler scored 14 points to lead Union’s scorers. He was 4-6 from the field.
Hughes netted 10 points.
Other scorers were Breeden with six points and Ciot with two points.