After a couple of one-sided affairs last week, the Union boys basketball team was ready for a test.
And the Skyview Storm certainly supplied that on Tuesday night.
Using their size and grit, the Storm fought for second-chance opportunities to stay close with the Titans in the first half.
But then Kaden Horn supplied 11 of his game-high 27 points during an 18-5 run to open the second half, and that propelled Union to 79-71 win in the 4A/3A Greater St. Helens League game at Skyview.
“Bryson (Metz) was just driving and kicking (the ball),” Horn said. “That’s how I got all my open shots. Just all of the guards were just finding each other, which was great.”
The Titans opened the season last week with a 40-point win over Prairie and a 50-point win over Heritage. But they knew Skyview was going to present a bigger challenge.
“It was great to get a lot of guys in last week,” Union coach Blake Conley said. “Big wins are fun. But to play a team like Skyview, we knew this would be a challenge. Coach (Matt) Gruhler coaches them up really well, and they played hard tonight.”
Union had a hot early hand, finishing the first quarter on a 11-3 run to lead 23-15.
But then the Storm created second-chance opportunities and worked the ball inside to take a 26-23 lead.
“They were relentless to the rebounds,” Conley said. “We knew that was going to be an issue with this team. I was impressed by how Skyview rebounded and that’s a huge part of why they were in the game.”
Horn hit the second of his six 3-pointers to help Union take a 36-33 edge into halftime.
After the Titans scored nine of the first 10 points of the second half, Horn’s third 3-pointer resulted in a four-point play for the senior, putting the Titans up 49-37.
“That was a big momentum play,” Horn said. “It gave us a lot of confidence after that.”
Union would push its lead to as many as 16 at 58-42. Skyview would fight back, but the Storm could get no closer than seven points in the fourth quarter.
Metz, a transfer from King’s Way Christian, added 19 points for Union. Izaiah Vongnath scored 13 points and Ariya Briscoe had 11.
“I’ve been very pleased,” Conley said of his team. “They’re a group that’s playing together for the first time. We lost eight seniors from last year. But you wouldn’t know that based on the way they interact with each other. They like each other, they get along with each other. And that’s huge when we haven’t had much time together.”
Three Storm players accounted for 61 of Skyview’s 71 points. Mahkai Brooks led the Storm with 23 points, followed by Squeeky Johnson with 20 and Colton Looney with 18.
UNION 79, SKYVIEW 71
UNION — Ariya Briscoe 11, Bryson Metz 19, Tobias Merriweather 0, Kaden Lewis 3, Izaiah Vongnath 13, Cole Rebman 0, Kaden Horn 27, Jake Bowen 4, Evan Manville 0, Jack Tanner-Johnson 2. Totals 30 (11) 8-9 79.
SKYVIEW — Dominic Wakeland 0, Colton Looney 18, Squeeky Johnson 20, Kaleb Storaci 2, Mehkai Brooks 23, David Sheppert 0, Jaxon Faile 2, Cole Bain 6, Joshua Rushing 0. Totals 27 (5) 12-15 71.
Union 23 13 25 18—79
Skyview 15 18 16 22—71
JV — Union 66-40