Union High boys basketball player Mark Stanley broke on the scene last year as a freshman.
Stanley earned playing time, playing in all 23 of the Scotties’ games off the bench. He scored 76 total points.
This year, Stanley has carved out a new role for himself — starter.
“He has gotten stronger without a doubt,” Union coach Mark Stanley said, who is Mark’s dad. “He has always had pretty good footwork.
“His shot has improved. He can shoot from the outside. He’s a year older and he’s getting more playing time; he’s on the floor more. The time he put in in the weight room has paid off. It’s his strength and being a year older.”
A 6-foot sophomore guard/forward and son of Beth and Mark Stanley, the younger Mark Stanley has started all three of Union’s games — all wins — and he dominated the action last week. He netted 15 points with 12 rebounds in a 48-43 win over Nazareth Prep and added 27 points and 24 rebounds in a 62-54 victory over Rochester. Both verdicts came in WPIAL Section 1-1A matchups.
For his efforts, Mark Stanley was named the Lawrence County Athlete of the Week, as voted on by the New Castle News sports staff.
“He had two very good games on the glass,” Coach Stanley said. “He was just going and getting the ball against Rochester.
“He scored all of our points against Rochester in the first quarter, cleaning up the offensive boards and getting putbacks.”
The younger Mark Stanley played varsity football for the first time this past season. It’s an area Coach Stanley credits Mark with developing added strength.
“We do workouts in the summer,” Coach Stanley said. “He’s out in the driveway working hard.
“Maybe football gave him some added confidence. He works hard. The whole team works hard and they all do what they are supposed to do.”
Prior to Tuesday, the younger Stanley had tallied 53 points and 43 total rebounds.
“He’s very aggressive,” Coach Stanley said. “He goes and gets it. He reads the ball well.
“He has a good nose for the ball. (Teammates) Anthony Stanley (Mark’s older brother) and Aaron Gunn down there with him helps him. Those guys locking guys down helps free him up. Mark moves pretty well. That allows him to get his hands on the ball and get rebounds.”
Coach Mark Stanley enjoys watching Mark as well as his sons Anthony and Matthew succeed.
“It’s fun to see,” Coach Stanley said of Mark’s prowess on the court. “He doesn’t change his emotions.
“Mark just goes out and plays. He doesn’t change his expression. I really like that part of his game; it’s nice to see. I just like to see the guys go out and play hard and compete.”