CLARK, NJ -- The Union Catholic boys basketball team held off a big comeback by Saint Joseph (Metuchen) by making some clutch free throws down the stretch to emerge with a gritty 63-60 victory at the Hearts 2 Hands Invitational on Sunday at A.L. Johnson High School in Clark.
Union Catholic snapped a three-game losing streak as the Vikings improved to 9-5 on the season
Junior point guard Elijah Barlow led UC with 18 points, senior guard AJ Sepulveda had 13, and senior forward Isaac Holmes added 10.
The Vikings, which saw a 19-point third quarter lead erased by a huge Falcons rally, trailed 56-55 with 1:49 left in the game. But Matt Tracey hit a pair of free throws with 1:13 left, and then Holmes dived to the floor for a steal and fed Sepulveda for a layup that gave UC put the Vikings ahead, 59-56.
After St. Joseph cut it to 59-58 with 41.5 seconds left, Sepulveda was fouled and made both foul shots to give UC a 61-58 lead.
Saint Joseph hit two free throws to again cut it to a one-point deficit. Then Barlow, who was fouled with 17.1 seconds remaining, connected on two free throws for a 63-60 lead. St. Joseph missed a 3-point attempt from the top of the key as time expired.
Barlow contributed four rebounds and four assists to go along with his 18 points for UC. Tracey pulled down a team-high eight rebounds, and teammate Caleb Reed had seven.
K-Shawn Shulters had 16 pts. to lead Saint Joseph, while Mo Johnson scored 13 along with 8 rebounds, and Tyree Ford added 7 pts. and 7 rebounds. It was the second straight loss for the Falcons, who fell to Seton Hall Prep, 62-41, on Saturday, Jan. 25.