CLINTWOOD — Depth played a big role in Union’s win over Ridgeview on Wednesday.
Union coach Zack Moore went deep in the Bears’ bench to direct a 69-40 Mountain 7 District boys basketball win.
Alex Rasnick led the Bears (4-1, 4-0) with 18 points, while Bradley Bunch added 15 for Union.
The Bears also got 14 points from Malachi Jenkins and 11 more from Caiden Bartee.
Both Jenkins and Bartee came off the bench to contribute to Union’s success. But Moore said he does not consider the duo as role players.
“We didn’t have much energy in the first quarter, and we didn’t share the ball like we need to in the first quarter,” Moore said. “I thought when we brought in Caiden and Malachi, that got us going. They brought energy off the bench. Then, defensively we cranked it up and the guys kind of tagged along with it, and it led us to a halftime lead.
“We’ve basically got seven starters. Caiden and Malachi play just as many minutes as some of our starters. We don’t miss a beat when they come in. Then, freshman Reyshawn Anderson has been giving us some good minutes, too. We put him in, and he gives some good defensive minutes and effort. You’ve got to have those guys.”
Moore used all of his guys Wednesday, and it worked to wear down Ridgeview, which went only seven players deep in the game and missed the presence of starter Trenton Adkins for the second contest in a row because of an ankle injury.
“I thought we came out with good energy in the first quarter, and then we got a little tired there (in the second quarter),” Ridgeview coach Evan McCowan said. “I told our guys we’ll come out and we’ll play hard.
“I thought the second quarter was really the difference in the game. You got to give it to Union. They played good defense and got us kind of flustered a little bit. But we’ll learn from this and move on and be better.”
The two teams were tied at 10 after the opening quarter, but Union’s defense pressured nine Wolfpack turnovers in the second quarter and the Bears outscored the Pack 20-7 in the quarter to build a 30-17 halftime lead.
Union continued the strong defensive play in the second half and outscored Ridgeview 39-23 in the final two quarters to seal the win.
Gabe Brown and Austin Mullins each finished with 10 points and nine rebounds for Ridgeview (6-2, 4-2).
Brown’s final point of the night gave him exactly 1,000 for his career.