Union's Stanley named to third team

Union's Matthew Stanley dribbles into the lane.

Matthew Stanley compiled strong numbers for the Union High boys basketball team this season.

Stanley’s body of work caught the attention of voters from around the state as well. He was named third-team All-State on Monday, as voted on by media members throughout the state.

A 5-foot-10 sophomore point guard, Stanley led the Scotties with 23.9 points per game. Last year, he netted a team-best 17.5 markers a matchup.

“I thought he made big strides from his freshman year,” said Union coach Mark Stanley, who also is Matthew’s dad. “He’s got the ball in his hands a lot. When we get the rebound, we look for him so we can push it up the floor.

“The way he handles it, his strength is how well he handles the ball. Even though he averages around 24 points per game, he gets guys involved. We need a good point guard and he fits that mold.”

Matthew Stanley improved his free-throw shooting from 76.6 as a freshman (59 of 77) to 92 of 111 (82.8 percent) as a sophomore.

“I think he got much stronger,” Mark Stanley said. “He spent a lot of time in the weight room and he physically got stronger. He was scoring the basketball, too.

“Even though he shot the most 3s for us, he doesn’t rely mainly on the 3. He can get to the hoop. It was big that he got that freshman year under his belt and he was playing. Being a year older, being able to get bigger and stronger was important, too. He works on all phases of the game. Defensively, he got better and he never takes a break on the defensive end; he’s a hard worker.”

Matthew Stanley made 25 3-pointers. He averaged 5.5 rebounds and four assists a game as well.

“I thought he was going to be pretty good,” Mark Stanley said. “I’m kind of tough on him. It’s the work ethic. I found out how hard he works. But all of my guys work hard.

“Matthew is the next level. He’s a fanatic. He’s a gym rat and he’s looking to get better every day. Matthew is not driven by the all-state team. He’s driven to be the best he can be. These awards are nice. But they’re not our end-all.”

Matthew Stanley had four games scoring 30 points or more this season for Union, which finished 10-5. He scored a career-best 39 points in a 78-55 win over Cornell this year.

“That might not be his best game,” Mark Stanley said. “The game that comes to mind was the first playoff game (against Aquinas Academy).

“He had 25 points at halftime against Aquinas. He distributed the ball in the second half and that’s what I like, the unselfishness. He’s capable of putting up big numbers.”

Matthew Stanley finished with 29 tallies in that 97-54 WPIAL Class 1A playoff win over Aquinas Academy. The Scotties were eventually eliminated in the WPIAL semifinals by Bishop Canevin.

rponiewasz@ncnewsonline.com

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Sports Editor

Ron Poniewasz Jr. is the sports editor at the New Castle News. Email him at rponiewasz@ncnewsonline.com.

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