Hot shooting sparks UL past Sandy Valley, 57-51

UHRICHSVILLE – Union Local used a near perfect third quarter offense and a strong fourth quarter defensive stand to advance over Sandy Valley 57-51 in boys Division III Sectionals at Claymont High School Wednesday night.

The Jets hit six of their seven three-point buckets in the third quarter to erase a 36-32 Sandy Valley lead. Union Local’s Collin Jones and Gavin Porter netted long-range buckets to give the Jets their first lead of the contest 38-36.

Kaleb McDiffitt added a 3-pointer for the Jets, and Trenton Tipton hit his third trey of the stanza at the buzzer to give Union Local a 24-point total for the frame and a 44-40 lead going into the fourth.

Zach Schlimm, a 6-foot-3 senior for the Cardinals had 19 points in the first half and added 10 more in the third quarter. Union Local head coach Vaughn Butler knew that if he wanted to keep the advantage, he needed to find a solution.

“We made some defensive changes in the fourth quarter,” said Butler. “We went from a diamond press to a box-and-one on Schlimm we did a ice job shutting him down but then their guard got hot.”

Nate Shepler took up the cause for Sandy Valley netting 3-pointers on three consecutive possessions to put the Cardinals back on top 49-48 with 3:30 to play.

“Their number one could not miss,” added Butler who signaled his defense to switch to a triangle-and-two to counter, “I thought we did a nice job reacting defensively, we rebounded well and took care of the basketball.”

Porter hit again from outside the arc to put the Jets back on top with 1:52 left on the clock.

Union Local would never look back as they went to the foul line as McDiffitt stroked both ends of a one-and-one and then netted both double bonus tosses to cap a 8 of 13 fourth quarter from the foul line for the Jets to ice the win.

“They shot the ball well on the perimeter,” Sandy Valley coach Gary Offenberger complimented. “It’s tough to play a team that throws junk against you,” Offenberger said.

McDiffitt and Porter both finished with 14 to pace the Jets. Tipton added 13 while Collin Jones rounded out double figures with 10.

Sandy Valley’s Schlimm led all scorers with 31 points while Shepler finished with 13.

Union Local advances to the upper-bracket finals, where it will meet top-seeded Garaway on March 1 for the right to move on to district play at St. Clairsville.


SANDY VALLEY (51) – Shepler 5, 0-0 13; Lancaster 0, 0-0 0; Schlimm 12, 4-5 31; Neisel 0, 0-0 0; Hunter 1, 1-4 3; Grossman 1, 0-2 2; Miller 1, 0-0 2. Totals 20, 5-11. UNION LOCAL (57) – McDiffitt 4, 4-5 14; Tipton 5, 0-0 13; Dunfee 0, 0-0 0; Jones 3, 2-2 10; Porter 4, 3-6 14; McKnitz 2, 2-5 6. Totals: 18, 11-18.

Three Point Goals: SV – Shepler 3, Schlimm 3. UL – Porter 3, Tipton 3, Jones 2, McDiffitt 2.

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