By Mike Longo Jr.
With a trip to the championship game on the line, the Carlynton Cougars had to like their chances of advancing. How could one not with an abundance of senior leaders?
Unfortunately for the Cougars, the dream of hoisting a WPIAL Championship trophy was dashed at the hands of the semifinal opponent, the Union Scotties.
In a game that started off at a frightening pace, the final score was oceans away as Carlynton dropped an 80-58 decision to Union.
Nip and tuck was the scene in the first quarter as Union held a slim lead at the close 17-15. The second quarter was as fast-paced as the opening tip-off as Carlynton nailed 17 points as Union dumped in 16. Still not enough to take the lead at the break as the Cougars were down 33-32.
This game would take on a strange twist as it was halted for 30-plus minutes due to a power outage at the host school Montour's gymnasium.
That outage certainly took the wind out of the Carlynton sail, especially in the third, where Carlynton could only muster 9 points as Union poured in 21 from all over the floor.
The Scotties would take a commanding 13-point lead into the fourth quarter as they led the Cougars 54-41. A lead they would never relinquish.
Union dumped in another 26 in the final stanza while Carlynton netted 17 which simply wasn't enough.
For Carlynton stars Chase Jones and Austin Milliner, along with four other seniors, this game signaled an end to their quest for a WPIAL Championship.
The lone bright spot for the Cougars came from Jones as he poured in a team-high 27 points, almost half of the team's total output.
Carlynton has dropped down into the WPIAL’s consolation bracket and will have another game.
Union will play for WPIAL gold against Imani Christian Academy at the Petersen Events Center today, March 2 at 5 p.m.