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Union Boundary

Redskins Reload in Quest for State Title

READY FOR ACTION: Despite losing four starters to graduation, the Union boys basketball team is hoping to make another trip to the Class 6A state tournament in March.

Courtesy photo

Union lost all but one starter from last year’s team, but that won’t change anything. As another area coach says, “It does not matter if the Redskins’ lose 15 guys, they are always a force.”

“We may be reloading with a little bit of a different team than what we’ve had in the past,” Union coach Rudy Garcia says. “We have some seniors who have been waiting their turn. Now is their time, and hopefully, they’re going to be up for the task.”

The only starter back is Garcia’s son, Mo (senior, guard).

“With four starters gone, Mo is going to have to rise up along with the rest of these guys,” Garcia says.

With the younger Garcia being a coaches’ son, he has been around the game all his life, allowing him to have a mental side of understanding how to play the game, his father says.

That’s a big bonus for him and us. He is like a coach on the floor, he directs people to where they need to be,” Garcia says. “I think he just helps calm everything down and helps keep people under control. He is obviously the best shooter on our team. We’re going to rely heavily on his perimeter game where he can shoot it, but he is versatile enough that we can move him inside if we have to with his size. His leadership skills are valuable to what we do and is valuable to him and has been valuable to him throughout his career.”

Union was ranked No. 1 in Class 6A and unbeaten throughout most of the last season. It was on pace to win a state championship, until it was stunned by Booker T. Washington in the state semifinals and settled for a 27-1 finish.

“I don’t know if you ever get over it,” Garcia says.  “You try to block it out of your mind. We felt like we had the pieces to win it all, and for that not to happen, it was disappointing. But, in the end, it was a great year. The guys accomplished a lot. You can’t forget about what they did do as a group. It was a great group of kids that were fun to coach. But, you just have to move on.”

While Garcia says that the loss can be used as a motivational tool for the next group, the tradition Union has established is just enough.
“They understand what Union basketball is about and what we stand for
and what the level we expect to be at, and it drives them to be that next group,” Garcia says. “They don’t want to be one of those groups that don’t make it to the state tournament.

We’ve had a pretty good run of getting there and those type of things drive these guys to continue to work and keep us at that level.”

Players expected to take over starting positions for Union, who was No. 5 at the start of the season, are Michiah McQuarters (senior, guard) and Jordan Flood (senior, guard).

“(McQuarters) got minutes off the bench for us last year,” Garcia says. “We’re going to rely on his athletic ability to stretch the floor and shoot. He has elevated his game. He is going to be one that we are going to lean heavily on to pick up some of that scoring slack that we’re losing from last year’s squad.”

“(Flood) is another kid that played off the bench last year,” Garcia says. “He has done a lot of good things here in the preseason. He is a very good rebounder/slasher. We need that out of him throughout the year to help break down defenses.

“Those three, Mo, Michiah and Jordan are the three guys that must go for us to have a chance to be successful,” Garcia says.

There is also Noah Brown (senior, post), Kendall McVay (senior, point guard), Larry King (junior, guard) and Greg Hawkins, a 6-7 senior (post) who returns after playing at Union as a freshman. He played the previous two years at Hale.

“Then there is a slew of other guys that are trying to vie for some time, but they still have to figure some things out. But, those are probably the top seven guys that we’re relying on to help carry us this year,” Garcia says.

Teams expected to be challenging for the Redskins this year are Broken Arrow (ranked second as of early in the season), Jenks, Sand Springs, Putnam City North and Westmoore.

Updated 12-19-2017

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