After beating an opponent with nothing to lose, Union is one step away from winning it all in the Class 4A District 4 Boys Basketball Tournament.
The top-seeded Titans held off a spirited Battle Ground squad 83-73 on Wednesday in the second round of the district tournament.
Union (19-2) will face Evergreen for the district title on Tuesday at Battle Ground High School. Both are assured a game against a Seattle-area team with a berth in the state tournament’s regional round on the line.
An underdog Wednesday, Battle Ground’s season is over at 9-13. But the fifth-seeded Tigers went down swinging, making 11 3-pointers and staying within striking distance down the stretch.
But Union held off the Tigers behind Denis Kirichenko, who scored nine of his game-high 22 points in the fourth quarter.
“Battle Ground shot extremely well,” Union coach Blake Conley said. “It was an up-and-down game and we did a good job of weathering the storm.”
Cameron Cranston, the 4A Greater St. Helens League MVP, had 14 points, 10 rebounds and six assists. Nico Bricker added 15 points and nine rebounds, while Kiethen Shepard had 11 points and seven rebounds.
Daelon Floyd scored 18 points to lead Battle Ground. Renato Mendoza had 17 points and Kobe Ford added 16.
UNION 83, BATTLE GROUND 73
BATTLE GROUND — Kobe Ford 16, Kellen Butler 11, Landon Hall 0, Curtis Stradley 2, Shane Hatch 2, Renato Mendoza 17, Kyle Cahoon 7, Daelon Floyd 18. Totals 28 (11) 6-9 83.
UNION — Keithen Shepard 11, Brennan Paulson 2, Zach Reznick 7, Tyler Combs 8, Carson Brucher 0, Nico Bricker 15, Austin Lewis 0, Christian Agarpo 2, Kai Gamble 2, Cameron Cranston 14, Denis Kirichenko 22. Totals 32 (9) 10-14 83.
B. Ground 18 17 21 17—73
Union 20 24 23 16—83