HIGH SCHOOL PREVIEW Pennsylvania boys basketball
PIAA CLASS A STATE CHAMPIONSHIP
Who: Union (20-10) vs. Scotland School (24-7)
When: 3 p.m. Friday.
Where: GIANT Center, Hershey, Pa.
Union notebook: The Scotties, coached by Mark Stanley, are making their first trip to the state championship game. Not many observers expected them to make this kind of run, but their success has the community riding high. Union, the WPIAL champion, made it to Hershey by beating playoff opponents Conemaugh Valley (72-59), West Middlesex (57-44), California (65-34) and Kennedy Catholic (40-39). Union ended Kennedy Catholic's run of five straight trips to Hershey. The Scotties trailed by 10 points at halftime but rallied behind Jeff Nero's 16 points and Craig Hannon's 11. Union's probable starters are Damian Cassano (5-9, senior); Hannon (6-1, junior); Nero (6-1, senior); Bob Bondi (6-2, junior) and Mike Mukaabya (6-2, junior). Hannon leads the team in scoring, averaging around 18 points per game, and he's followed by Nero (15) and Bondi (10). The Scotties also get contributions off the bench from junior Steve Brenner and sophomore Bob Burkes. Stanley's wife, Beth, is pregnant with the couple's first child, due April 16, and was planning to remain back home in Union Township.
The coach says: "A lot of people doubted us. No one gave us a chance. To step up and do what they did, I don't think they understand; I don't think I do. ... Don't go by our record. We play a tough schedule, and we've turned into a very good club. We're not afraid to play anybody." -- Stanley.
Scotland School notebook: The Cadets qualified for their sixth trip to the state finals. They are a three-time state champion (2002, 1995, 1994), having beaten Kennedy Catholic last season, and a two-time runner-up (1992, 1991). On its way to Hershey this season, Scotland School, the District 3 champion, defeated North Penn (93-53), Pius X (65-58), Williams Valley (58-43) and Muncy (64-47). Against Muncy, Scotland School built a 34-21 lead by intermission, then held its opponent to seven points in the third quarter en route to the victory. Malik Parker led Scotland with 20 points, while Malik Wright added 10. Scotland is a school for veterans' children located in Franklin County.