SPF Raiders Fall to Union in a Hard-Fought, Gritty Game 49-47

Joe Kaplan, Sports Editor

It was a competitive, toe-to-toe high school basketball game that was truly meant to go down to the wire. The Raiders entered the contest with a record of 2-2, trying to avoid their first losing record of the season. 


As soon as the ball was tipped into the air to start the game on Saturday afternoon, Jan. 15, both teams showed aggression toward their opponent. The defense was on-point for both teams as no players were able to create open opportunities for good looks. 


“It was a very competitive game and a very talented Union team,” coach Steve Siracusa said. “I’m just proud of our guys for really fighting hard, playing with a lot of effort and things just didn’t go our way at the end.” 

Junior Khadar Jackson led the way for the Raiders and was able to put up 14 points for the Raiders while senior Jaden Carter was able to put up 10. 


The game consisted of back and forth scoring runs from both teams, as the Raiders fell short to Union 49-47. Whenever the Raiders had the momentum going their way, Union struck back. 


With 26 seconds remaining, Union was able to convert on a layup which included a trip to the foul line. While Union wasn’t able to convert at the foul line, Scotch Plains was looking at a five point deficit. 


With Union taking the ball out of bounds, Carter created a steal and drained a three pointer to cut the deficit to two with two seconds left on the clock. 


SPF knew they had to foul so that they could get a chance to have the ball back if Union couldn’t convert both free throws. However, SPF had no timeouts left so even if they grabbed the rebound after a miss, they couldn’t advance the ball half way down the court. 


Union missed the free throw which ended up out of bounds. SPF managed to have 1.4 seconds left on the clock to create an opportunity for a late game winner. 


SPF looked towards the junior sensation Matt Nervi to shoot the ball, and while a good look was created, he wasn’t able to knock it down.

I’m just proud of our guys for really fighting hard, playing with a lot of effort and things just didn’t go our way at the end.

— Coach Steve Siracusa

“I didn’t think we got a couple stops, and that put them ahead a little bit,” Siracusa said. “We didn’t capitalize on some looks and opportunities on offense. So, they hit some shots, and we didn’t, and that was the difference with the two-point loss.” 


“We knew it was going to be a dogfight from the very beginning and we had to play four full quarters,” Siracusa said. “That was expected. It really wasn’t a surprise that it was going to be physical like that.”


SPF will look to get back to .500 next week as they take on Union Catholic, next Tuesday at 8 PM.