Turnovers costly for Union Local

URICHSVILLE – Union Local knew when it arrived at Claymont High School Friday evening it was up against a tall task in top-seeded Garaway for the Division III sectional co-final.

However, the youthful Jets didn’t seem one bit fazed.

They were able to dictate tempo and bother the Pirates with their zone for most of the night.

Unfortunately, those two factors weren’t enough.

Garaway took advantage of 15 Union Local turnovers, 10 of which were in the first half and at least half of those led to run-out opportunities, which proved to be too much for the Jets to overcome.

The now 19-4 Pirates punched their ticket to yet another Eastern District Tournament by virue of a hard-earned 50-41 victory. Garaway will open district play on Tuesday at Ohio University Eastern against the winner of today’s Buckeye Trail-Monroe Central encounter.

“We didn’t come up here for a moral victory,” said UL head coach Vaughn Butler. “We came up here to win the ball game, but those turnovers in the first half really came back to bite us.”

The Jets actually scored the first four points of the game as Garaway misfired on nine straight shots to begin the game.

However, the Pirates eventually got untracked and closed the first with an 11-7 lead. Union Local seemed to be heading for a spurt in the second quarter when it had scored six of eight points in a two-minute stretch, including two buckets from sophomore Colton McKivitz.

The Pirates stopped that run just about as quickly as it got started, reeling off six straight of their own, including two of those aforementioned transition chances by standout senior Duane Troyer and another by senior guard Tyler Walter, who was a first-team all-Ohioan in football as a quarterback.

“We gave up too many easy chances and too many second-chance points,” Butler said. “In order for us to win this game, we needed to slow the game down, limit our turnovers and limit (Garaway) to one shot. We only did one of the three well.”

The teams traded scores in the third as the Pirates extended their lead to 35-25. In the fourth, Garaway stretched its margin to as many as 13 at 47-34 before the Jets made another small spurt to try to climb back into the game.

“We have to learn how to start and extend runs,” Butler said. “When you score, you should come down and dig in even harder defensively. That’s something we’ll learn better as these guys continue to gain experience. It’s easy for people to forget, at times, that we had two sophomores and two freshmen on the floor most of the game.”

McKivitz, who was by far the tallest player on the floor, led the Jets with 13 points and 11 rebounds to complete the double-double. Gavin Porter added 10 in top support. Kaleb McDiffit donated six.

Garaway, meanwhile, was led by Troyer, who scored a game-high 22, and Walter’s 13.

The Jets finished their season at 5-18 and will lose just three seniors – Jacob Bailey, who missed the last few weeks of the season with a knee injury; Collin Jones and Todd Sill.

“It hurt when we lost Jacob, but we played some tough teams,” Butler said. “We can’t be ashamed of what we did with as young as we are. We just have to get to work and get better for next year.”

UNION LOCAL (41) – McDiffit 3, 0-0 6; Tipton 2, 1-2 5; Dunfee 1, 1-5 3; Causby 0, 0-0 0; Jones 2, 0-0 4; Porter 3, 2-2 10; McKivitz 6, 1-1 13; Totals: 17, 5-10 41. GARAWAY (50) – Mullett 2, 0-2 4; Troyer 8, 5-6 22; Kiser 0, 0-0 0; Walter 6, 1-2 13; Werker 0, 2-2 2; Gebhart 2, 2-2 7; Foster 0, 0-0 0; Yoder 0, 2-2 2; Honingford 0, 0-0 0; Totals: 18, 12-16 50.

3-Point Goals: UL – Porter (2). G – Troyer, Gebhart.

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