Stallions defeat Union Academy in key conference match-up 55-52

Jeremiah Murphy swishes a 3-point shot. (Ed Berti)
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The Stallions from Queen’s Grant High School defeated their local PAC 7-1A Conference rival Union Academy on Friday night at home sharing possession of first place in the conference with a 2-0 record tied with Pine Lake Preparatory. The galloping Stallions improved their overall record to 10-4 on the season, and this team is looking sharp playing at a highly competitive level.

Another 3-pointer. (Ed Berti)

Coach Walter Wright has the Stallions playing at a fast pace and working as a team. The defense is solid, they have four players who can put up double digit points in any basketball contest. They have some size especially with senior Jaden Bilal 6’8″ clogging up the middle and playing more aggressively of late.

The teams leading scorers Jeremiah Murphy 6’5″ and LB Boyette 6’3″ continue to produce offensively. Joshua Williams 5’10” a quick and solid ball-handling point guard gives the Stallions an added dimension who also can score, while junior Jeremiah Wooten has stepped up as a major factor under the boards and could become the leader on this team next season.

Action under the boards. (Ed Berti)

“The team played with positive emotion, remained focused, we executed at both ends of the court, we hit our free throws when it counted and came away with a big conference win against a well-coached good basketball team,” said coach Wright.

The first period started out playing at a fast tempo with both teams running and pushing the ball down the floor. The teams did not shoot particularly well as the defense stiffened challenging the shooters from the perimeter who were launching 3-pointers. While under the boards Bilal, Boyette, Murphy and Wooten began to show they could dominate and control the backboards for second opportunity shots.

With the score 10-8 in favor of the Cardinals, Bilal grabbed a rebound with 3.8 seconds remaining, dished the ball to Williams who found Murphy open feeding him a perfect pass and he would swish a 3-pointer at the buzzer to give the Stallions an 11-10 advantage as the home crowd erupted.

Action under the boards. (Ed Berti)

In the second period, the game continued with the same scenario. Both teams were fighting for position trying to get an edge. The Cardinals began to find the 3-point range and hit some key shots down the stretch to the intermission. The Cardinals Derek Young would hit a 3-pointer with 8.9 seconds remaining in the first half to erase a one point Stallions lead putting Union Academy ahead 23-21 at halftime.

In the third period, the Stallions began to slowly take control of the game. They outscored the Cardinals 16-9 primarily on the scoring of Joshua Williams who nailed a 3-pointer and drove aggressively toward the basket. Boyette and Murphy both made important shots for significant contributions to build up a 37-32 lead going into the final period.

Stallions LB Boyette sinks free throw down the stretch. (Ed Berti)

In the fourth period, the game started to become a little chippy as the Cardinals appeared to be frustrated and the Stallions were playing more physical using their size advantage to their benefit. With 5:17 remaining Wooten made a power move to the basket and finished the drive for 2 points giving the home team a 42-37 lead. He was fouled, but missed the free throw bouncing out of the rim half-way down the shoot.

Now with 1:44 remaining in the game, LB Boyette is hammered on a drive to the basket, he goes to the free throw line and calmly sinks both foul shots giving what seemed to be a comfortable 51-41 advantage for the Stallions. After a time out called by the Cardinals, who then applied a full court press and set-up an effective 3-2 trap defense led to multiple turnovers down the home stretch making this games final outcome very uncertain as the visitors connected on two 3-pointers and scored a few easy baskets from steals.

Joshua Williams scores the final point for the win. (Ed Berti)

However, the Stallions would prevail, as they shot 8-10 from the foul line as the Cardinals had to commit fouls to stop the action and most importantly the clock. LB Boyette was perfect netting 6-6 from the free-throw line, Williams went 2-2 which was enough to hold off the Cardinals rush in the final minutes of this contest.

The leading scorers for the Stallions were Williams 18 points, Boyette 17, Murphy 12. Wooten hauled down 12 rebounds, Murphy 8, Boyette 6, Bilal 5. Seniors Jalen Anderson had 15, Derek Young 12, and Josh Harris 11 points for the Cardinals.

Boyette shoots a 3-pointer as Stallions bang the boards. (Ed Berti)
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Ed Berti
Ed is retired and remains active as a freelance writer, local journalist and independent contractor. He is engaged in print and electronic media writing stories covering business, sports, hometown news and veteran's affairs including articles of interest to various media outlets. Ed is a graduate of Wagner College where he earned an MBA and holds a BBA from Pace University.
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