Keystone Boys Hold Off Union, 53-48

| January 5, 2019


KNOX, Pa. (D9Sports) – After building a 13-point lead three minutes into the second half, Keystone held off Union for a 53-48 win in KSAC South boys’ basketball action Friday night in Knox.

(Photo: Union’s Caiden Rainey (No. 11 in blue) attempts a shot as Keystone’s Max Thompson (No. 3 in white) tries for the block. Keystone’s Brooks LaVan (far right) looks on. Photo by Mary Rearick)

“We will always take a win,” Keystone head coach Greg Heath, whose team saw a 34-21 third-quarter advantage whittled to two, 37-35, late in the third quarter, said. “That Union team is tough, and they played us tough. They don’t quit. They keep coming at you. We will take a win anytime we can get it, but it was certainly an ugly, ugly win.”

Relisten to the game:

The Panthers (7-2 overall, 4-1 KSAC South) led 34-21 following a Max Thompson basket with 4:58 left in the third quarter.

But Union (4-5, 2-3) responded with a 14-3 run to get within two, 37-35, on a Caiden Rainey basket with 1:27 to play in the quarter.

Three-pointers from Luke Bowser and Truman Vereb and four points each from Rainey, a freshman, and Karter Vogle fueled the run.

The lone Keystone basket during the stretch was a 3-pointer from Brooks LaVan, who seemed to have a knack during the game to answering Union spurts with long balls. LaVan, who was named the Hager Paving Player of the Game, hit five 3-pointers on the night and finished with a game-high 17 points.

“They kept giving me a step or two off and didn’t get their hand up sometimes,” LaVan, who hit four of his triples after halftime, said. “If it was in rhythm I let it go, I guess. In the third, I really started to feel it.”

Watch all of LaVan’s postgame thoughts.

All four of LaVan’s 3-pointers in the second half came at key moments.

Brooks LaVan was the Hager Paving Player of the Game

Brooks LaVan was the Hager Paving Player of the Game

His first one came following a Vogle three at the start of the second half cut a nine-point Keystone lead, 27-18, at halftime to six, 27-21, and started a 7-0 spurt that pushed the lead to 13 points.

Then, after five straight Union points knocked that 13-point lead to eight, 34-26, he stepped forward and hit another triple to put the lead back in double digits.

In the fourth quarter, following a Thompson basket at the end of the third that gave Keystone a 39-35 advantage, LaVan jumped started a game-deciding 8-2 run at the start of the quarter with a 3-pointer and then added another triple during the spurt to push the lead to eight, 45-37, with 6:09 to play off a Dawson Steele assist.

“We had a few guys who kept their composure and made some shots in key situations,” Heath said. “I thought Brooks LaVan stepped up and made some big shots for us tonight.”

Following LaVan’s final 3-pointer of the game, Isaak Jones, who added 11 points and seven rebounds for the Panthers, pushed Keystone’s lead to 10, 47-37, with 4:25 to play.

Union had one last spurt in it with two Vereb free throws and a basket by Rainey getting the Golden Knights back to within six, 47-41, with 3:16 to play.

But LaVan fed Thompson, who finished with 12 points, for a basket at the 2:52 mark to break the Union mini-run, and the Knights didn’t get closer than six until a 3-pointer by Vogle, who had 13 points, with about 10 seconds to play set the final score.

Rainey, who was hampered with foul trouble all game – he had three in the first half and picked up his fourth late in the third quarter forcing him to miss the first three minutes of the fourth quarter – led Union with 14 points. He was 6 of 10 at the free-throw line, as the Golden Knights were 8 of 16 from the line on the night compared to Keystone, which was just 2 of 4.

“They attacked the paint, we didn’t, period,” Heath said when asked why his team wasn’t able to get to the charity stripe.

Keystone outrebounded Union 42-35 in the contest with Steele, the point guard, leading the way with 11. Quintin Weaver had 10 rebounds for the Golden Knights.

Keystone returns to action Thursday, Jan. 10, when it hosts Cranberry. Union is back to the hardwood Tuesday, Jan. 8, at North Clarion.

KEYSTONE 53, UNION 48

Score by Quarters

Union 5 13 17 13 – 48
Keystone 14 13 122 14 – 53

UNION – 48

Luke Bowser 1 0-0 3, Karter Vogle 5 0-2 13, Quintin Weaver 2 0-0 4, Caiden Rainey 4 6-10 14, Nolan Cumberland 3 0-2 7, Truman Vereb 2 2-2 7, Layton Stewart 0 0-0 0. Totals 17 8-16 48.

KEYSTONE – 53

Troy Johnson 1 1-2 3, Max Thompson 6 0-0 12, Luke Hurrelbrink 0 0-0 0, Isaak Jones 5 0-0 11, Alex Rapp 0 0-0 0, Dawson Steele 3 0-0 7, Andrew Lauer 1 1-2 3, Connor Exley 0 0-0 0, Brandon Kapp 0 0-0 0, Brooks LaVan 6 0-0 17. Totals 22 2-4 53.

Three-pointers: UNion 6 (Vogle 3, Bowser 1, Cumberland 1, Vereb 1). Keystone 7 (LaVan 5, Jones 1, Steele 1).


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