MORRISTOWN - Union Local head coach Vaughn Butler had a solid game plan in place for Friday's game against Shadyside in the consolation round of the Wheeling Hospital OVAC Boys Basketball Championship.
The Jets, who are without senior standout Jacob Bailey for the remainder of the season due to an injury, wanted to control the tempo, play good defense and limit Shadyside's touches on the interior.
In terms of those three factors, the Jets were on point all night.
SHADYSIDE’S Jared Brooks goes up for a shot as Union Local’s Collin Jones defends during Friday’s game in Morristown. Brooks scored 11 as the Tigers prevailed, 45-43.
However, the name Zach Frizzi wasn't discussed all that much during Jets' practices the past two days. The Tigers' sophomore dialed in 3-point bombs on three occasions and finished with 18 clutch points to lead Shadyside (11-11) to a hard-earned 45-43 victory in their regular-season finale.
"That kid just kept hitting threes," Butler said. "Where did he come from?"
Frizzi got the start because Shadyside played without sophomore pivot Austin Dorris due to illness.
Frizzi certainly made the most of his opportunity, especially in the second half when he erupted for 14 of his points.
"There was a while in this game that I didn't think we'd come back," confessed Shadyside head coach Ed Andes. "We had to do everything possible to come out with a win. At this time of the season, wins are the most important thing."
Union Local (4-17) was nursing a 39-36 margin with just over two minutes to play when Shadyside got a turnover and Frizzi got free from the right wing for a triple.
Impressive frosh Kaleb McDiffitt responded with a goal on the other end for the Jets, but Tigers' senior Skyler Gibson, who had struggled from the field, got a soft floater to drop.
Talented Tiger senior Adam Stupak then stepped into the passing game and forced UL's seventh turnover of the fourth quarter. He raced the other way for the layup, giving Shadyside it's first lead since it was 9-6 in the first quarter.
"I thought our kids played well for the most part, but those turnovers late in the game just killed us," Butler said. "Plus, we missed a few foul shots that were costly."
Sophomore Gavin Porter meshed two at the line to knot the game at 43 with just over a minute to go. Shadyside then turned the tables on the Jets and went into a deliberate mode of its own.
The Tigers ran the clock down to just under 12 seconds before Stupak made a move to the goal and was fouled with 11.7 to play. He calmly sank both.
Union Local then advanced the ball to halfcourt with 6.6 seconds to go. The Jets got an off-balanced look, but it rolled off the rim and into Jared Brooks' hands on the defensive boards, preserving the outcome for the Tigers.
"I am happy with how the kids battled," Andes said. "Frizzi played really well for us tonight offensively. I am just glad we got out of here with a win."
Frizzi's scoring production was complemented by Brooks' 11 and Stupak's eight.
Porter, meanwhile, led the Jets with 15 points. Trenton Tipton and McDiffitt each had nine.
The Jets were charted for 16 turnovers, which was twice as many as Shadyside. The Jets held a commanding 25-14 edge on the boards.
Both teams shift focus to Ohio sectional play. Union Local will meet Sandy Valley at Claymont on Wednesday. Shadyside won't begin its tournament trail until Feb. 27 against Beallsville at Union Local.
Shadyside's varsity victory made it a complete sweep for the Tigers.
SHADYSIDE (45) - Nardo 0, 0-0 0; Stupak 3, 2-3 8; Johnson 0, 1-2 1; Brooks 4, 3-5 11; Frizzi 7, 1-1 18; Richardson 1, 0-0 2; Gibson 2, 1-2 5; Totals: 17, 8-13 45. UNION LOCAL (43) - McDiffitt 4, 0-0 9; T. Tipton 4, 1-1 9; Dunfee 0, 2-2 2; Jones 2, 0-0 4; Porter 5, 4-6 15; McKivitz 2, 0-0 4; Totals: 17, 7-9 43.
Three-Point Goals: S - Frizzi (3). UL - McDiffitt, Porter.
Staskey can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org