Bellarmine gave it all they had on tired legs against the Union Titans in the game's first 16 minutes – trailing only 31-26 at the half. But the second half was a different story, as Jordan Chapman scored 16 points in the second half – finishing with a team-high 32 points – and Tyler Copp added 17, including 3-for-4 from the three-point line as Union would claim the 4A third-place trophy with a 62-51 win on March 3.
"They're a good team, their traps and full court pressure got to us after a while," Salazar said.
The Lions lost Lucas Meikle to a blow to the face with five minutes to go in the first quarter, and Sefo Liufau to fouls with 5:18 left in the game. David Smith, who led Bellarmine with 20 points, couldn't get going in the second half.
"Union kept up the pressure in the second half, and it continually wore us down," said Smith, who scored 16 points in the first half.
While the gritty Lions crawled back to within two early in the fourth quarter, Chapman and Kopp each threw in a three-pointer on successive possessions to give the Titans the cushion they needed.
"I'm so proud of these kids," Salazar said. "They gave Bellarmine all they had today after last night's tough loss, and looking ahead to next year, we've got a pretty good nucleus coming back."
"I'll leave Bellarmine remembering the great team mates I had and the commitment each of us made the last three years," Smith said. "The relationships that I had with my fellow Lions will be something that I'll never forget."