Bears ramble past Blues in tournament-like atmosph
Richlands (63) Vs. Union (77)
Feb 06, 2016
for the Daily Telegraph
RICHLANDS, Va. — Although you couldn’t tell it from the final margin, a packed house at Richlands Middle School was treated to a tremendous game by two quality teams.
Union used a huge fourth quarter to take a 77-62 non-conference win over the Blue Tornado on Saturday. For 27 minutes you couldn’t ask for a better game. Unfortunately for Richlands, games last 32 minutes.
“I’m just so disappointed we didn’t finish the game strong,” Richlands coach Fred Phillips said. “We played hard and smart into the fourth quarter. The last few minutes we didn’t make plays, we didn’t get any stops and Union did. It’s that simple.”
When Scottie Ball scored with a drive to the basket with 5:36 left in the game, Richlands held a 57-55 advantage. To that point the contest was tied nine times and there were 15 lead-changes.
Ball, who plays a lot inside at the post, was brought outside frequently and isolated, going one-on-one against a defender. The Bears switched to a zone defense to help contain Ball with great results.
“We were in foul trouble, we were having a tough time guarding Ball, he’s a tough matchup,” Union coach Zach Moore said. “James (Mitchell) and Raashaun (Noaks) were on the bench with four fouls, we knew we couldn’t put them back in to guard him, so we played a little zone.”
It worked to perfection for the Bears, who went on a 19-0 run to take control of the game. The Blues went almost five minutes without scoring, missing 10 consecutive shots. The Union lead was 74-57 before Luke Phillips hit a 3-pointer for Richlands with less than a minute left to play.
“They went to a 3-2 zone and we just stood and passed it around,” Phillips said. “We didn’t penetrate the gaps and make them play two on one and kick it out. That’s my fault, I probably should have got a timeout earlier and got us into a zone offense.”
Until the run in the fourth, the largest Union lead was five points in the first quarter. The largest lead by Richlands was also five.
It was the fifth game in six days for the Blue Tornado. They had won four in a row, after losing at Union 65-64 a week ago.
“I hate losing, but it was a great high school basketball atmosphere,” Phillips said. “Playing against good competition will help you be better at tournament time.
“Union has a good team, we didn’t lose to a slouch. They are long, athletic, bulky, big, strong and well-coached.”
Ball led all scorers with 25 points for Richlands. Phillips added 15 points in the loss.
Jake Barnett (23 points) and Wes Slagle (22 points) provided offense for the Bears.
“I told my guys that this would be a regional game atmosphere,” said Moore. “Win or lose, we just wanted to come over here and play well. I thought we did.”
The marathon continues for the Blue Tornado with four games next week, beginning with a huge matchup when they host Graham on Tuesday.

at Richlands Middle School
UNION (16-3)
Gavin 2 1-5 5, Spears 2 0-0 5, Slagle 5 9-10 22, Sharitt 1 1-3 4, Barker 3 2-3 8, Barnett 6 11-16 23, Mitchell 3 0-1 6, Noaks 1 2-4 4. Totals 23 26-42 77.
Phillips 4 4-6 15, Herndon 2 1-2 6, Fuller 2 0-0 4, Ratliff 1 0-0 3, Brown 1 0-0 3, Smith 0 0-0 0, Thomason 1 1-2 3, Horn 0 0-0 0, Ball 10 4-7 25, Lane 1 2-2 4. Totals 22 12-18 63.
Union................................17 17 17 26 — 77
Richlands.........................15 18 14 16 — 63
3-point goals – Union 5 (Spears 1, Alagle 3, Sharitt 1), Richlands 7 (Phillips 3, Herndon 1, Ratliff 1, Brown 1, Ball 1). Total fouls – Union 19, Richlands 28. Fouled out - Ball. Technicals – none.
Nightly Roundup
Game Scoreboard
Richlands 15 18 14 16 0 63
Union 17 17 17 26 0 77
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