UNION – A classic or a turnover-missed free throw-filled season-opener?
Either way you interpret it there was high drama Friday at Louis J. Rettino Gymnasium for the second of the three 3rd Annual St. Jude Classic Benefit Basketball Games at Union.
Union fought hard late in the fourth quarter to send the game to overtime after junior Val Julien hit a 3 from the left side.
Then Elizabeth, behind junior guard Julius David, ultimately prevailed in overtime and held on for a gutty, gritty 67-63 season-opening triumph UCC non-league triumph.
David scored seven of his game-high 28 points in overtime, including his game-high sixth 3-pointer, which gave Elizabeth the lead for good at 59-58 after Union opened the extra session by taking a 58-56 lead on a layup made by Julien, who finished with eight points.
Union defeated Elizabeth on the same stage to open last year, winning 56-46. Elizabeth did not win its first game last year until Jan. 17, which was also in overtime – 55-51 at home over Westfield.
Union took a 12-11 lead in the first quarter, with six different players scoring baskets. A steal, layup and foul by Lashane Taylor at the first quarter buzzer gave Elizabeth a 17-14 advantage. He missed the ensuing free throw.
A basket by Tyrone Bowens, his first, gave Union a 20-19 lead. Kelvin Harris answered for Elizabeth to give the Minutemen the lead back at 21-20.
Union’s Derryen Whyte hit two free throws to give Union the lead back at 22-21 with four minutes to go before halftime. Abdul Dempsey hit a 3 to make it a 25-22 Elizsbeth lead with 2:40 to go. Dempsey then made it 27-22.
Elizabeth went on a seven-point run for a 28-22 lead. Dempsey then made a layup and was fouled. He made the free throw for a 3-point play and a 32-26 Elizabeth lead at the half. Dempsey and David had 10 points each for the Minutemen, while Union senior De’Andrae Mc Farlane led the Farmers with five points.
Elizabeth closed the half on an 11-4 run after Union’s last lead of 22-21.
To say the third quarter was low-scoring would be an understatement. Dempsey made an inside basket for the quarter’s first points at the 2:59 mark, giving Elizabeth a 34-26 lead.
Union’s Chimdi Ebo then hit a 3 from the left side for Union’s only points of the quarter coming with 2:13 left.
A free throw by David made it 35-29, which is what the score was going into the fourth quarter.
Both teams missed a ton of free throws, the home team Farmers more.
Mc Farlane was the first player to foul out, doing so with 7:24 to go.
Jordan Price’s first points – two free throws – gave Elizabeth a 39-32 lead with 6:40 left in the fourth. Justin Garcia followed with an offensive rebound for Elizabeth and then scored his first points to make it 41-33. Garcia then grabbed a defensive rebound.
A steal and layup by Union’s Derryen Whyte made it a 43-35 game with 5:44 left in the fourth.
A 3-pointer by David and then two more free throws by the game’s high-scorer put Elizabeth up by 10 at 48-38 with four minutes to go. A basket by Whyte cut the lead to 48-40.
Garcia then fouled out with 3:14 remaining.
Union continued to miss free throws. A 3-pointer by Julien – his first points – made it a 48-45 game with 3:50 to go. Union then stole the ball back, but missed two more free throws. Whyte then grabbed an offensive rebound, was fouled, and made one of two free throws to make it 48-46.
Union then stole the ball, missed and then Elizabeth turned the ball over against Union’s full court press.
David made two more free throws to make it 50-46 before Whyte answered with two to pull Union to within 50-48 with 1:45 left.
Whyte fouled out with 1:42 left, called for a charge in the lane. Elizabeth then turned the ball over on a backcourt call with 1:35 to go.
After a missed lauyup, Union’s Jabri Lateef tied the game at 50-50 on an offensive rebound. David quickly answered with his fifth 3-pointer to make it 53-50.
Union missed and then Union blocked an Elizabeth shot. Elizabeth then turned the ball over trying to get it in bounds with 49 seconds left.
After a Union turnover, Elizabeth missed inside. Union missed and then Elizabeth was called for traveling. Union then missed two more free throws, but got the rebound. Then Union’s Ezra Glover hit a 3 from the left side to tie the game at 53-53.
Elizabeth quickly came back down court, with Dempsey scoring inside, getting fouled, and making the free throw to give the Minutemen a 56-53 advantage.
Julien tied the game with his crowd-roaring 3, Dempsey missed a 3 from the right side and off to overtime we went.
Julien gave Union its last lead at 58-56. David answered immediately with his sixth 3 to give Elizabeth the lead for good at 59-58.
Two more David free throws made it 61-58. Price later scored inside to make it 63-58.
Union missed a 3 and then Elizabeth got the rebound, but then turned the ball over. Union missed another 3.
Elizabeth turned the ball over, Union missed another 3 and then Elizabeth called a timeout with 33 seconds left. Julien fouled out with 28 seconds left.
David then scored his final two points – from the free throw line – to make it 65-58. Glover banked in a shot to pull Union to within 65-60 with 15.8 seconds to go.
Union fouled and then Harris made one of two free throws for 67-60. Union’s Jahmir Dunkin banked in a long-range 3 at the buzzer for the final score of 67-63.
PATRICK SCHOOL GIRLS’ DOMINATE HOST UNION IN OPENER
The Patrick School girls’ basketball team continued right where it left off last season by thoroughly dominating Union 71-31 in a Union County Conference-Watchung Division clash as the first of the three 3rd Annual St. Jude Classic Benefit Basketball Games at Union’s Louis J. Rettino Gymnasium.
Freshman guard Lashae Dwyer paced all scorers with a 17-point performance for the Celtics, who last year finished 27-3 and won the Union County Tournament for the second time in three years and repeated as the Watchung Division champions.
Also scoring in double figures for the Celtics were Madison Ruddy with 12 points and Shadajah Thomas and Brennah Cody with 10 each.
Producing a strong game for Union was senior returning starter Allison Seater, who led the Farmers with 13 points, including eight on four baskets in the fourth quarter.
Dwyer was strong to the hoop the entire game. Patrick School took an 18-5 lead early in the second quarter after Dwyer and Quanaijah McDowell hit back-to-back askets. Akiyah Baker drained a 3 from the right side for a 21-5 lead.
The Celtics led 24-6 midway through second quarter. Their advantage at intermission was 33-8. Dwyer and Ruddy each had 10 points at the half. Seater led Union with five.
An electrifying spin move and lefty layup by Dwyer in the third quarter gave Patrick School its first 40-point lead at 49-9.
The Celtics led 58-16 after three quarters.
UCC-WATCHUNG DIVISION GIRLS’ BASKETBALL
Patrick School (1-0, 1-0) 14 19 25 13 – 71
Union (0-1, 0-1) 05 03 08 15 – 31
PATRICK SCHOOL CELTICS (71):
11-Lauren Lewter, senior, 0-0-0-0
23-Jonice Middleton, senior, 0-0-0-0
1-Shadajah Thomas, senior, 2-2-0-10
24-Brennah Cody, junior, 5-0-0-10
4-Dana Hill, junior, 0-1-0-3
5-Quanaijah McDowell, junior, 2-0-0-4
3-Aliyah Williams, junior, 0-0-0-0
35-Faith Reddick, sophomore, 0-0-0-0
0-Madison Ruddy, sophomore, 3-2-0-12
13-Gianna Torretta, sophomore, 0-0-0-0
15-Akiya Baker, freshman, 1-2-0-8
10-Ra’Myah DeGioia, freshman, 1-0-0-2
2-Lashae Dwyer, freshman, 7-0-3-17
12-Tahirah Kelly, freshman, 1-1-0-5
25-Renee Thomas, freshman, 0-0-0-0
Starters: Ruddy, Cody,
Kelly, Dwyer, Shadajah Thomas
Head coach: Damel Ling, second season
UNION FARMERS (31):
31-Britney Fils, senior, 1-0-0-2
11-Allison Seater, senior, 5-0-3-13
33-Krizia Aponte, junior, 1-2-1-9
2-Maya Celestine, junior, 0-0-0-0
1-Ezinne Igwe, junior, 0-0-0-0
42-Yvette Mansfield-Thompson, junior, 0-0-0-0
10-Brianna McNair, junior, 0-0-5-5
12-Julia Almosa, sophomore, 0-0-0-0
5-Julianna Gore, sophomore, 0-0-0-0
25-Julia Durugo, freshman, 1-0-0-2
32-Kalaya Harris, freshman, 0-0-0-0
Starters: Celestine, McNair,
Seater, Durugo, Aponte.
Head coach: Wendy McNair, first season
UCC-NON-DIVISION BOYS’ BASKETBALL
Elizabeth (1-0) 17 15 03 21 11 – 67
Union (0-1) 14 12 03 27 07 – 63
ELIZABETH MINUTEMEN (67):
4-Anthony Bryant, senior, 0-0-0-0
11-Abdul Dempsey, senior, 6-1-2-17
23-Justin Garcia, senior, 1-0-0-2
13-Kelvin Harris, senior, 2-0-6-10
14-Damian Rodriguez, senior, 0-0-0-0
15-Omar Batts, junior, 0-0-0-0
20-Taj Brown, junior, 0-0-0-0
2-Julius David, junior, 0-6-10-28
32-Phillip Grimaud, junior, 0-0-0-0
12-Amil Lapierre, junior, 0-0-0-0
34-Abdul Shanunu, junior, 0-0-0-0
3-Lashane Taylor, junior, 1-0-0-2
5-Clarence Wilkins, junior, 0-1-0-3
10-Messai Johnson, sophomore, 0-0-0-0
21-Jordan Price, sophomore, 1-0-3-5
24-Astrel Lauwensky, freshman, 0-0-0-0
Starters: David, Wilkins,
Dempsey, Harris, Price.
Head coach: Donald Stewart, second season (2nd stint)
UNION FARMERS (63):
1-Marvellous Akingbala, senior, 1-0-0-2
22-Tyrone Bowens, senior, 1-0-0-2
10-Jahmir Duncan, senior, 0-1-0-3
2-Chimdi Eboh, senior, 2-1-0-7
33-Aaron Hobbs, senior, 0-0-0-0
0-Jabri Lateef, senior, 2-0-4-8
3-De’Andrae McFarlane, senior, 2-0-2-6
4-De’Antae McFarlane, senior, 1-0-1-3
5-Derryen Whyte, senior, 4-1-6-17
12-Ezra Glover, junior, 2-1-0-7
11-Val Julien, junior, 1-2-0-8
13-Rache Thomas, 0-0-0-0
Starters: Lateef, Akingbala,
Eboh, De’Andre McFarlane, Whyte.
Head coach: Kevin Feeley, seventh season