Taking charge in the second half, the Rockwood Summit Falcons secured the consolation trophy of the Union Tournament Saturday, beating the host school 57-37.
“They hit three threes to start the second half,” Union Head Coach Chris Simmons said. “They got a nine- or 10-point lead and they started playing really loose and trapping us on every drive and we would call a jumped pass. They would intercept and go shoot a layup. We just didn’t execute very good and control the tempo.”
Simmons said the Wildcats struggled shooting from the field as well.
“We shot the ball very poorly, maybe below 25 percent,” Simmons said. “I thought they were good looks, but we just didn’t knock them down.
Union (9-6) took the lead when all-tournament selection Trevor Kelly scored at the end of the first quarter, 13-12.
The teams traded the lead in the second quarter before Kelly hit another game-tying shot near the end of the half. The teams went to the locker room tied at 20-20.
“In the first half, I thought we were forcing tough shots for them,” Simmons said. “We would come down and get open looks and miss them, but I thought they were good looks. In the second half, they were able to get out on us in transition because of the way we turned the ball over.”
Rockwood Summit (11-6) hit three three-point baskets in a row, two by all-tournament selection Ben Coughlin, and the other by Blake Vaughan, to take the lead for good, 29-22.
It was 38-29 after three quarters and Rockwood Summit extended the lead to 20 points by the end of the game.
“We’ve got to control the tempo,” said Simmons. “I felt they got to play loose in the second half because they got the lead. We got tight and tried to force the issue.”
Coughlin knocked down three of his team’s seven three-point baskets and ended with 13 points.
Jacques Thomas was next with 11 points, including going 5-6 from the free-throw line. The Falcons were 12-20 from the stripe.
Vaughan ended with nine points.
Tanner Jennings was next with seven points. Celestine Kubee added six points. Nathan Humphery had five and Matt Garnatz, Ethan Manalang and Jonathan Thomas each scored two points.
Kelly was the game’s leading scorer and he netted 19 points with three three-point shots. He also went 4-4 from the free-throw line. Union hit six three-point baskets for the game and went 7-9 from the free-throw line.
“Trevor is the leader of our team offensively and defensively,” Simmons said. “He guards the other team’s best player and today he did a tremendous job on Jacques Thomas. Trevor was much smaller and he just defended the ball really well. Trevor sets the tone for us every day at practice and games.”
Kale Crawford netted nine points. Jacob Towell had four points while Peyton Burke netted three. Wil Strubberg added two points.
“We’ve got to move forward and get ready for Steelville Tuesday night,” Simmons said. “They’re playing well. They’re 12-2 and they’re good. We’re going to have to come out playing well. We’ve played a tough schedule and we’re taking our lumps. We’ll learn. I told the guys to stay the course. We’re learning and getting better. We’ve got great kids who want to be successful.”