Union Local girls topple St. Clairsville

Union Local caught fire early. St. Clairsville found a way to cool the Jets off.

The Red Devils were aggressive defensively, forcing turnovers with a well-timed full-court trap. They made a seasoned Jets’ team look uncomfortable offensively and easily overcame an early 10-2 deficit.

There was only one problem.

Coach Alicia Freeman’s team couldn’t buy a bucket in the second half not even with a platinum Visa card with a zero spending limit.

Down by six at the half, St. Clairsville struggled mightily in the third quarter, hitting just 1 of 17 shots as Union Local (9-4) pulled away for a 49-40 Monday night victory.

“The whole second half really, we couldn’t buy a bucket,” Freeman said as her team fell to 6-5. “We had really good looks too, even some second and third opportunities, but we couldn’t get anything to fall.”

UL didn’t fair much better in the quarter either, hitting only 4 of 19 shots. But those three extra buckets, plus a Mikayla Patton free throw allowed the Jets to expand their lead to 11 after three periods.

In the fourth, Coach Drew Greenwood’s team did what it does best, come up big at the free throw line.

The Jets hit seven free throws down the stretch, finishing 11 of 16 for the game.

Dallas Montag, who had 16 points to back Cori Medley’s game-high 17, was 7 of 8 during the final 8 minutes.

“We work hard in practice and take great pride in our foul shooting,” Greenwood said. “Our team goal is to shoot 70 percent.

“We executed early but started to have a let down and missed a ton of easy shots and it took us out of it mentally.”

How right Greenwood was.

UL hit its first four shots, racing out to a 10-2 lead as the tandem of Montag and Medley worked patiently around the perimeter as their teammates screened and rolled, looking to create an opening.

Freeman’s team likes to play full-go on both ends of the court and the Jets’ seemingly methodical offensive approach was causing her players issues defensively. Something had to change.

The Devils implemented a trap. The turnovers for the visitors started to mount and the lead began to dwindle.

Kayla Doty, the Jets’ premier post, came off the bench to score six quick points and create havoc, but even she went cold, finishing with six points as she missed her final eight shot attempts after a 3-for-3 start.

“Union Local is patient offensively and our girls were tending to fall asleep,” Freeman said. “So we changed things up and it worked.

“I take losing worse than anyone and but we lost by (nine) to a very good, seasoned basketball team and we played far from our best.”

Lauren Figura paced the Devils with 13 points while Emily Delguzzo poured in nine off the bench and Alexis St. Clair added eight.

Union Local made it a sweep with a victory in the JV encounter.

UNION LOCAL (49) – Montag 4, 7-8 16; Medley 6, 3-4 17; Collins 1, 0-0 2; Stiles 1, 0-0 3; Patton 1, 1-3 3; Doty 3, 0-1 6; Russell 1, 0-0 2; Delaney 0, 0-0 0; Totals: 17, 11-16 49. ST. CLAIRSVILLE (40) Mick 1, 1-2 4; Gillespie 1, 0-0 2; St. Clair 3, 1-2 8; Moulder 2, 0-0 4; Figura 3, 7-9 13; Delguzzo 4,0-0 9; Avila 0, 0-0 0; Skukan 0, 0-0 0; Miller 0, 0-0 0; DeFillipo 0, 0-0 0; Cenkus 0, 0-0 0; Totals: 14, 9-13 40.

Three-point Goals: Medley (2), Montag. Mick, St. Clair, Delguzzo.

Hughes may be reached at mhughes@timesleaderonline.com.