Some of it was due to defense and the rest to shots that would not drop and cold shooting by both teams.

By BARRY SANKEY

Unionville wound up winning the Southern Chester County League battle, 37-36, in a tight struggle throughout.

"Our play was horrible all the way around," summarized Patriots coach Jim Nolan.

Great Valley, which led 15-8 in the first quarter and 22-20 at halftime, shot 15-for-46 (33 percent) from the field and scored just four points in the third period. Unionville shot 17-for-44 (39 percent) from the floor.

Kevin Hovde topped the Indians with 11 points while Brian Friis was high man for the Patriots with 15 points. The game's only double figure scorers each had one 3-point field goal.

Unionville coach Kevin Crossman said the Indians are playing better ball since a number of players have recovered from illness. The Indians are now 2-3 in the SCCL (4-9 overall) with victories over Avon Grove and Great Valley plus a buzzer-beating loss to Kennett.

"It was the style of game we are used to playing," Crossman said. "We are used to tough defensive struggles.

"We knew they were a lot bigger than us and shot from the outside. They forced us to play man-to-man. They hit some big shots in the beginning. I told them at halftime we are going to win this game at the defensive end."

The Patriots made three 3-point field goals in the first quarter, and that was it for the rest of the contest. Friis, Ryan Power (eight rebounds) and Shane Stackhouse nailed the treys as GV used an 8-0 run to take a 15-10 lead at the end of the first eight minutes.

Hovde tallied eight first-half points for the Tribe and then sank a trey in the third period. Matt Nuechterlein also buried a triple for the winners.

"The key was in the second half they had no wide open looks," Crossman said. "They had a lot of open looks in the first half."

Crossman thought the Indians got key rebounds from Ryan Ackerson (six), Frank Greeley and Brian Guest to keep the lead. Donte Woody pulled eight caroms for the Pats and Dan Tartaglio had five.

"We had sickness in December and now they are all back," Crossman said. "This was our third game. It is like a new season for us. They are starting to believe they can win games."

Unionville took a 30-26 lead after three quarters as Greg Figenshu made a baseline jumper and Hovde and Nuechterlein dropped treys for an 8-2 run in the final 4:44 of the stanza.

The Patriots led 34-33 on a scoop shot by Friis with 2:45 left in regulation time. But Nuechterlein made a steal and layup and Ackerson worked inside for a basket and 37-34 lead with 29 seconds left.

Woody converted a rebound with :07 showing. After Figenshu missed the front end of a one-and-one, Great Valley had one final attempt. Friis had a good look at the bucket from the left side of the lane, but the shot bounced off as time expired.

Unionville won the junior varsity game, 45-43, in overtime.

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