Sullivan stayed in contention for the Four Rivers Conference boys basketball championship with a 52-43 home win over Union.
Sullivan improved to 16-7 overall and 5-1 in the conference while Union fell to 5-17 overall and 1-5 in the league race.
Sullivan has one FRC game left, a showdown at St. James against the Tigers (22-2, 5-1) for the league title.
Union closes out the league season against Hermann Friday night at home. Junior varsity action begins at 6 p.m.
Union Head Coach Chris Simmons knows the Wildcats face a challenge against the Bearcats.
“Hermann is a tough team,” Simmons said. “They play really hard and really physical. They have several kids who can shoot and score, so we will have to play our best to beat them. It is courtwarming so we should have a really good crowd, which I believe will be a positive for us.”
Simmons feels rebounding will be a key in the game.
“Our rebounding is going to be of utmost importance because they shoot so well, that when they miss, we need to keep them to one and done or else they will make us pay,” Simmons said. “We will be ready to go. The kids have continued to work hard with the intent of finishing this season strong.”
Simmons was happy with how the Wildcats played in the 52-43 loss Tuesday.
“We actually played really well against Sullivan,” Simmons said. “We handled their pressure and scored against it all night long. Our guards made good decisions and attacked the rim when they had the opportunity.”
Simmons said Sullivan worked hard to outwork Union on the offensive boards.
“The one area that killed us all night was offensive rebounding,” said Simmons. “If we could have kept them to one shot per possession, we might have won by 10, but instead they had 27 offensive rebounds. Sullivan hit the glass really hard as a team and it paid off with multiple scoring opportunities every possession. It is tough to win no matter how well you play when you shoot almost half as many times as your opponents. I really was pleased with how we played in every aspect of the game except limiting their second-chance opportunities.”
Nick Ziegler led the Wildcats with 11 points while adding five rebounds, three assists and one steal.
TJ Vitt scored 10 points with four rebounds, two assists, two blocked shots and one steal.
Blake Hulsey sat out most of the first half, but impressed Simmons in the second half.
“Blake had two fouls in the first two minutes of the game and then had to sit the rest of the first half,” Simmons said. “But in the second half, Blake played his best game of the season.”
Hulsey scored eight points with two rebounds and a steal.
Brandon Ford had six rebounds, five rebounds, four blocked shots, three assists and one steal.
Another player to come into the contest and step up play was Ashton Dehn.
“Brian Borgmann also got in early foul trouble and Ashton came in and played a great game,” Simmons said.
Dehn had four points, seven rebounds, four assists and one blocked shot.
Borgmann had two points and two rebounds. Dylan Small scored two points with three rebounds.