Patriots are Sectional Champions
The drought is broken. The Union County Patriots defeated Northeastern, 56-32, last Saturday night to win the IHSAA Class 2A Sectional at Hagerstown. It is the first sectional title since the Patriots won back-to-back titles in 2012 and 2013.
The Patriots made an early statement with three consecutive buckets that took the wind out of NE’s game plan.
Union County enjoys playing defense, and they were at their best against the Knights who were scoreless until the final minute of the first quarter.
“Our guys dug in and accepted hard coaching a few weeks ago and fixed some things,” UC coach Jesse Moses said. “We’re confident, and our zone has been really good the last three weeks. Our guys really locked into all the rotations.”
By the second quarter, the Patriots’ confidence from beyond the 3-point arc took over.
Trevor Reiboldt opened with a trey, Mason Miller dropped one in, and Preston Scott nailed one before Miller made his second three.
The slow-scoring Knights made three field goals and one-of-two free throws in eight minutes and trailed, 25-11 at halftime.
“We slowed them down. That was our plan,” Moses said. “We can play any style we need to play.”
Cameron Donovan was the game’s leading scorer with a double/double 19 points and 11 rebounds.
There was no let-up in the second half. The added another 16 points to the scoreboard to NE’s two.
The final eight minutes found both coaches clearing the benches. The Patriots went on to beat Northeastern by 24, and the UC student section rushed the floor to celebrate in style.
“Winning sectional in Indiana is a big thing,” Moses said. “This group of guys earned that right to be sectional champions.”
Eventually, the floor was cleared enough for the presentation of awards to runners-up Northeastern and champions Union County Patriots.
Pictures were taken, and nets cut down before UC departed for home where they were met by law enforcement and firefighters who escorted them into town with sirens running full blast.
“The Tuesday, Friday, Saturday, what a week. What a run to put together,” Moses said. “Now that we’re here, we might as well go on and win a few more games.”
The Patriots move on to the four-team Greenfield-Cental Regional on Saturday, March 10.
Union County (20-6) will play Indianapolis Scecina Memorial (16-10) in the first game at 10 a.m.
Moses says he knows little about Scecina except that they are fast, really quick and lots of pressure.
Scecina defeated Speedway, 49-35, Indianapolis Washington, 64-52 and Heritage Christian, 54-47, to advance.
The second game puts Shenandoah (21-4) up against (20-6) Cloverdale.
The winners will play for the Regional Championship at 8 p.m.
Excitement is running high in Union County as the regional approaches. So high, in fact, businessman Tim Woodruff said he might have to close the store because everyone wants to be there.
Northeastern 3 11 13 32
Union County 7 25 41 56
Northeastern (15-11) Lumpkin 2-0-6, Mikesell 1-0-3, Hillard 1-1/2-3, Vanlandingham 1-0-3, Reynolds 3-0-6, Brou 1-3/6-5, Hancock 0-0-0, Tudor 0-1/3-1, Fisher 1-0-2, Loftis 0-0-0, Mull 0-0-0. Totals: 11-5/13-32.
UNION COUNTY (20-6) Sanford 2-4/5-9, Scott 2-4/4-9, Miller 3-0-8, Donovan 7-5/8-19, Dearth 2-0-4, Reiboldt 2-1/2-6, Hensley 0-1/2-1, Weller 0-0-0, Fields 0-0-0, Haas 0-0-0, Hartley 0-0-0, Webb 0-0-0. Totals: 18-15/21-56.
3-pointers-NE 5 (Lumpkin 2, Mikesell, Gammons, Van landingham). UC 5 (Sanford, Scott, Miller 2, Reiboldt).
Rebounds-NE 13 (Hancock 3).UC 24 (Donovan 11)..
Turnovers-NE 14. UC 18.
Total Fouls-NE 19. UC 12.
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