The Bears became the first team from Wise County to win a game in the tournament by upending Wasilla, Alaska, 65-62.
Justin Falin, a senior forward and kicker on the football team, came through with a huge block on the defensive end to preserve Union’s win. He also scored 11 points.
“We had just gotten onto Justin the possession before because he was supposed to be the help defense and he didn’t slide over. He definitely made up for himself on that,” Bears coach Zack Moore said. “He stepped over and made a great defensive play.”
The Bears shot lights out from beyond the 3-point arc, nailing 13 shots from long range — not far off White Station’s 2003 Arby’s record of 16.
Noah Garrison led Union with 21 points and freshman guard Andy Jones showed out again with 20. Alex Rasnick added 11.
The Bears were outrebounded 31-21 but didn’t give up nearly as many offensive boards (10) as they did to Tabernacle Baptist in the opener, which had 18 in its win.
“We created 3-point opportunities and they were going in for us,” Moore said. “It’s pretty cool to be the first team, but hopefully it won’t be the last.”
Daniel Headdings and Andrew Devine each scored 18 points to lead Wasilla. Devins also had 10 rebounds for a double-double.
Union doesn’t play until Monday in a consolation game against an opponent yet to be determined. Wasilla was eliminated.
Bearden 87, Tabernacle Baptist 38
Despite neither team scoring over the first four minutes of the game, the Bulldogs got going and never looked back in their first-round beatdown of Tabernacle Baptist.
Superb guard play lifted Bearden, which got 22 points from Trent Stephney and 20 from Ques Glover.
The Bulldogs had three others finish in double-figure scoring: Roman Robinson with 17 points, Shamarcus Brown with 12 and Tyler Nordin with 10.
The Falcons finished with more turnovers (18) than field goals (16). Joshua Dames scored 11 points and Ethan Munroe 10 for Tabernacle.
Bearden meets Mount Bethel on Friday at 8 p.m. Tabernacle plays at noon against Sullivan East.
Orem (Utah) 66, Greeneville 50
The Golden Tigers raced out to a 28-9 second-quarter lead and sprinted to the first-round win over the Greene Devils.
Ike Richards led Orem with 18 points, Shem Johnson had 15 and Taft Mitchell finished with 13. Orem had 13 assists on 26 made field goals.
Tyler Marsh scored 11 points to lead Greeneville. One night after finishing with 29, Jaevon Gillespie scored just two for the Greene Devils, who play Gate City at 1:30 p.m. on Friday in an elimination game.
Orem meets Wenonah in the winners’ bracket.