Indians fall to Springfield, 45-36, in UHS tourney
● By Richard Gaw
By Richard L. Gaw, Staff Writer
Opening nights, whether they be in the theater or on the playing field, are often a nerve-wracking unveiling of that which has been rehearsed, tweaked and fiddled with in the days and weeks that lead up to the first performance.
It is the first day the public is invited to see what has been going on behind closed doors, and allow those associated with the performance to get a first glimpse, offer the first evaluation, and get back to the rehearsal space to re-tool before the next performance. Although the Unionville High School basketball team's opening night game last Friday evening had none of the pageantry of a Broadway show, it revealed much in the way of what needs to be improved upon this upcoming season.
Above all else, more effective shooting would top that list.
After holding Springfield to a meager 21 points through the first three quarters of the game, the Indians squandered a ten-point lead in the fourth quarter to lose 45-36 in the opening round of UHS Tip Off Tournament, held Dec. 4 and 5 at Unionville High School.
Unionville shot just 11 for 59 from the floor for the entire game, but it was the fourth quarter that served to magnify its poor shooting, as the Indians managed just just five points while surrendering 24 points that led to a massive comeback by Springfield, whose offensive surge was highlighted by four three-pointers,10-11 free throw shooting, and a swarming full-court press that stymied and chance of an Indian offense.
At the start, both teams exhibited all of the trappings of opening night jitters, as Springfield shot 2 for 12 from the field and Unionville just 1 for 13, which at the end of the first quarter gave Unionville a slim 5-4 lead. The second quarter saw the emergence of a potential offensive weapon for Joe Kilpatrick's 2015-16 squad, as senior guard Jordan Shasteen connected on two three-pointers, with the second coming with 1:55 left in the first half to give the Indians a 17-8 lead.
Carrying a 9-point lead into the second half, the third quarter revealed yet another go-to offensive presence for Kilpatrick. Receiving passes from guards Kyle Goodier and Drew Menninger, senior center Pat Clark, Jr. showed some strong footwork in the paint, as he maneuvered his way for three baskets, while going 2-2 from the foul line in the third, to give Unionville a comfortable lead heading into the last quarter.
Ask any theater producer, playwright or director and they will proclaim that in theater, a play or musical is not just defined by its first act, but by the entirety of its story. Translated to last Friday's loss, Unionville's last act was slow and insufferable. Leading 31-21, Goodier hit a three-pointer early to extend the Indian's lead, but as the fourth quarter reached midway, two three-pointers by Alex DeAngelis and Justin Collins kept Springfield in the game. With 5:03 left, Kyle Ryan was fouled on a layup attempt and drilled two free-throws to bring his team to within seven points.
After Kilpatrick called a time out, his club was promptly assaulted with a full-court press from Springfield, which led to errant passes and turnovers, and soon after, the ultimate death knell. With 3:30 remaining, Kyle Long hit a three-pointer to narrow Unionville's lead to 36-32, which was then followed by a layup and three-pointer by Kyle Sullivan. Finally, Ryan stole the ball on an Indian in-bounds play and nailed a three-pointer to give the Cougars a lead they never relinquished. Long was the comeback star for Springfield, shooting 5-6 from the free-throw line, while Ryan converted all four of his free throws in the quarter. Ryan led Springfield with 13 points, while Long scored 12 points. Unionville was led by Clarke with 13 points, while Shasteen scored 12.
On Dec. 5, Unionville fell to 0-2, when they lost to Downingtown East, 47-38 on the second night of the tournament, despite 14 points from Shasteen and 13 points from senior forward Austin Fullington. The Indians continued their season with an away game at Henderson on Dec. 8, and will host Great Valley on Dec. 10.
Kennett High School, the other local team in the UHS Tip Off Tournament, was defeated 60-50, in the opening game of the tournament on Dec. 4. The Blue Demons were led by Matthew Kelly with 14 points, Tyler Nunn with 12 points and Connor McGlone with 11 points. Kennett hosted West Chester East on Dec. 8, and will host Sun Valley on Dec. 10.
To contact Staff Writer Richard L. Gaw, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.