Union Local cruises past Buckeye Local
MORRISTOWN — If one likes drama and suspense, then The Hangar was not the place to be Friday night.
Union Local gained commanding control less than four minutes into the game in cruising to a lopsided 91-22 victory over Buckeye Local. The Jets scored 17 of the game’s first 19 counters midway through the opening frame and were never challenged the balance of the contest.
The win was the 16th in 20 starts for coach Zach Delman’s impressive squad. The Jets exhibited athleticism, defensive tenacity, unselfishness and a lethal ability to run the floor in caging the Panthers.
The high-energy hosts were sparked by a superb effort from senior ace Luke Merritt. The sweet-shooting guard poured in 34 points to lead a quartet of double-digit Jet scorers. He drained seven treys. Senior Andrew Martin was next in line with 17 points, while classmates Liam Vinskovich and Nathan Meyer delivered 13 and 11 tallies, respectively.
“It was good to see our players smiling (Friday). Although we have a nice record, it always hasn’t been fun this year,” Delman said. “At times, it has been a grind. Going through two quarantines this season has been tough.
“We shot the ball well (Friday). That hasn’t always bee the case for us this year. We had 20 assists, which is a good number. We did a lot of good things.”
Union Local has little time to rest on its most recent triumph, as it travels to Beaver Local tonight (Saturday), seeking a repeat win over the Beavers.
The Jets had matters well in hand after one quarter, owning a 31-8 upperhand. Merritt sparked the first-quarter surge with 11 points, while Vinskovich produced seven markers.
The hosts stretched their advantage to 53-15 by intermission and maintained a 70-21 lead after three sessions.
Senior standout Mason Brown paced Buckeye Local with nine points. The Panthers played without injured point guard Cameron Best.
“We got beat by a very good basketball team. They shot the ball very well,” Buckeye Local coach Chris Heaton said. “We didn’t handle their pressure, and as a result, we dug a big early hole.
“They also did a nice job defensively. We had trouble getting good looks. It is one of those games where you just burn the tape.”
The loss dropped Buckeye Local to 10-7 on the campaign. The Panthers begin OHSAA tournament play Tuesday when they travel to Sandy Valley.
Union Local committed just six turnovers on the night. Buckeye Local was guilty of 21 miscues.
The Panthers salvaged a split, taking the reserve contest, 44-36.
Union Local 91, Buckeye Local 21
Buckeye 8 7 6 1 — 22
Union 31 22 17 21 — 91
BUCKEYE LOCAL: Brown 4, 1-2 9; Mayle 2, 0-0 4; Taylor 0, 0-0 0; McHugh 0, 0-0 0; Grabits 3, 0-0 7; Zanes 0, 1-2 ; Carter 0, 1-2 1; R. Deitch 0, 0-0 0; Scott 0, 0-0 0; A. Deitch 0, 0-0 0; Roush 0, 0-0 0; Romanyak 0, 0-0 0. TOTALS: 9, 3-6: 21.
UNION LOCAL: Meyer 5, 0-0 11; Merritt 11, 5-6 34; Vinksovich 6, 0-0 13; Martin 8, 0-0 17; Bateman 2, 0-0 5; Butts 2, 1-1 5; Rex 1, 0-0 2; Miller 0, 0-0 0; Blake 1, 1-2 4. TOTALS: 36, 7-9:M91.
3-POINT GOALS: Buckeye Local none; Union Local 12) (Merritt 7, Meyer, Vinksovich, Martin, Bateman, Blake).