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Painful end

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Union County senior Cameron Donovan twists for a basket against Indianapolis Scecina’s Makylin Brownin the Class 2A Regional 11 semifinals at Greenfield-Central High School on Saturday. Donovan was fouled on the play, but Brown and the Crusaders wound up winning the game 56-42.
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Union County senior Preston Scott (12) attempts a fade-away shot in the Class 2A Regional 11 semifinals, over the outstretched hand of Indianapolis Scecina opponent Cobie Dillard on Saturday. Scott hit a trio of 3-pointers in the first half and finished with a dozen points, but Scecina wound up winning the game, 56-42.
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Union County senior Trevor Reiboldt drives around an Indianapolis Scecina player in the semifinals of the Class 2A Regional 11 tournament, Saturday at Greenfield-Central High School. Reiboldt was one ofeight seniors on the UC team, whose high school careers came to an end, following a 56-42 loss to the Crusaders.

By GRADY TATE - gtate@newsexaminer.com

GREENFIELD — A quick start by the Union County boys basketball team in the Class 2A Regional 11 semifinals might have given some a little deja vu, going back to the Patriots’ lopsided win over Northeastern in the sectional championship game one week earlier.

But, unfortunately for said Patriots, it’s not how you start a game, but rather how you finish one.

UC had their opponent, Indianapolis Scecina reeling, as the Patriots jumped out to a 10-0 lead in the first four minutes of Saturday morning’s regional semifinal, but was unable to convert that into a championship game berth later that night, as the Crusaders roared back and came away with a 56-42 victory.

“I have said this before, but there is no stage that is too big for these kids,” Union County first-year coach Jesse Moses said of the early run by his charges. “We know that we deserve to be in this conversation. We have a confident group of guys, collectively.

“So we expected this, maybe not 10-0, but our kids expected to come out and punch them in the mouth. With their composure and competitiveness, our kids really wanted this. I wasn’t surprised that they came out on fire like this. That’s what we do.”

Manuel Brown finally got Scecina on the board with a pair of free throws at the 2:36 mark, then turned the momentum in a big way 41 seconds later with an alley-oop dunk that got the Crusader fans on their feet for the first time.

Brown added a pair of 3-pointers in the final 45 seconds of the frame to whittle UC’s lead down to one, 11-10.

The Indianapolis Scecina junior wasn’t finished.

By the time the game was over, he had converted seven shots from beyond the arch, finishing with 28 points to lead his squad to the win.

“We knew about him going into this,” Moses said. “It wasn’t like he was hitting wide open threes. We had our hand in his pocket, we challenged him, but tip your cap to him, he made some good shots.

“In the game of basketball, you have to give up something,” he added. “If we’re going to contest (3-point attempts) and he hits them, then again, just tip your cap.”

In spite of Brown’s big game, the Patriots would keep the game competitive nearly the entire way.

A 3-pointer by Preston Scott, one of three in the game for the UC senior, gave the Pats a 20-17 lead with four minutes left in the first half.

But Brown answered with five unanswered points to tilt the score back in favor of the Crusaders, 22-20.

Trailing by four at halftime, Union County tied things at 26-26 with 5:45 left in the third quarter, thanks to five unanswered points by Mason Miller.

Indianapolis Scecina responded with a 13-4 run to close the frame, however, taking a nine-point edge (39-30) into the final stanza.

“I thought our guys did a good job, even after Brown hit some of those big shots,” Moses said.

“We kept our cool and held onto our composure and just kept fighting back. They just went on that little run, and that was the difference.”

Union County continued to fight early in the fourth quarter, a free throw by Cameron Donovan, followed by a 3-pointer from Trevor Reiboldt and two more charities from Scott shaving six points off the Scecina lead.

But an 11-2 run, in favor of the Crusaders, over the next four minutes decided Union County’s fate, and advanced Scecina to the championship contest.

“Unfortunately, in this tournament, there is only going to be one team that is happy,” Moses said. “It didn’t end the way that we wanted it to, but we gave them all that they could handle.”

Donovan led UC in the regional, scoring 13 points. He was followed by Scott with 12 and Miller with 9.

The loss ended the playing careers of eight Union County players, as Scott, Reiboldt, Donovan, Miller, Joey Weller, Noah Hartley, Derek Dearth, and Luke Haas wore the uniform for the final time.

“Those kids mean everything,” Moses said. “They know that I don’t show a lot of emotion, but just knowing them since they were in elementary school, and watching them grow has been everything.

“It almost sounds cliche, but that group is family. They’re guys who, 30 years from now, will still be hanging out, probably playing a pick-up game in somebody’s driveway.

“I don’t know what I am going to do on Monday with them gone.”

The loss ends Union County’s season at 20-7.

“The only solace I find in these kids being gone is how successful they’re going to be as adults,” Moses continued. “They’re going to be eight great men as they grow up. They earned everything that they got this year, nothing was given to them.”

“I enjoyed the ride, and enjoyed my time with them. Now it’s on to our juniors and underclassmen to figure out what we have to do to get in this same position next year, and how we go about taking the next step.”




(at Greenfield-Central High School)

Crusaders 56, Patriots 42

Union County 11 21 30 42

Indianapolis Scecina 10 24 39 56

Union County (20-7) — Cameron Sanford 0 2-2 2, Preston Scott 3 3-5 12, Mason Miller 4 0-0 9, Cameron Donovan 5 3-5 13, Derek Dearth 1 0-0 2, Trevor Reiboldt 1 1-2 4, Ryan Hensley 0 0-0 0, Blake Fields 0 0-0 0, Luke Haas 0 0-0 0, Noah Hartley 0 0-0 0, Nate Webb 0 0-0 0. Totals 14 9-14 42.

Indianapolis Scecina (18-9) — Cobie Dillard 1 5-10 7, Kobe Clancy 5 2-2 13, Manuel Brown 10 1-2 28, David Baker 2 0-0 4, J.R. Fulmore 0 0-0 0, Dylan New 0 0-0 0, Makylin Brown 0 2-2 2, Jalen Linton 0 0-0 0, Gavin Mitchell 0 0-0 0, Matthew Funk 0 0-0 0, Darrion Tandy 0 0-0 0, Jayvon Hatton 1- 0-0 2. Totals 19 10-16 56.

3-pointers — Union County 5 (Scott 3, Miller, Reiboldt), Indianapolis Scecina 8 (Manuel Brown 7, Clancy 1). Turnovers — Union County 11, Indianapolis Scecina 10. Total fouls — Union County 14 (Scott 3, Reiboldt 3, Miller 2, Dearth 2, Donovan 2, Hensley, Webb), Indianapolis Scecina 15 (Dillard 3, Man. Brown 3, Baker 3, New 2, Clancy, Mak. Brown, Linter, Hatton).