Union Local cruises to 13-0 by drilling Buckeye

MORRISTOWN – Union Local has shown the ability to score points in bunches in a relatively short amount of time.

The Jets hit invading Buckeye Local with one of those runs and blew open a fairly competitive game in the early stages of the fourth and went on for an 86-55 victory, and their 13th straight win to begin the season.

“In the second half, I thought we played really well, but we have to figure out a way to start the game a little faster,” said Jets’ head coach Ben Porter. “We struggled to get into a flow, but overall, I am happy with how we responded in the second half.”

The Jets, who are ranked fourth in the Division III state poll and won the Ohio High State Team of the Week honor last week, continued to achieve great balance in the scoring column.

Five Union Local players scored in double figures, which is what Porter hopes for each time out from his club.

“I think any of the seven we play are capable of scoring on any given night,” Porter said. “We have the confidence in the kids that they’ll eventually come alive and make the plays, which they’ve been able to do so far.”

The slow start that concerned Porter was evident through a 13-7 lead after one period.

However, the Jets kept their foot on the gas and eventually led, 33-23, at the half and 58-44 after three.

“We’ve been battling with putting four quarters together here lately,” said Buckeye Local head coach Greg Haberfield. “We had a strong start, high energy, high intensity and focus, but you have to credit Union Local because they didn’t back down. Their bigs (Colton McKivitz and David Paulick) starting hurt us, but they’re tough outside, too. Not one kid sticks out for them because they spread the ball around so well.”

In the fourth, Union Local exploded on a 22-2 run, which was fueled by the defensive end. Trenton Tipton and Kaleb McDiffitt got into the Panthers’ passing lanes and turned several turnovers into easy chances.

Plus, the Jets went to a junk defense on Panthers’ senior Brennan Czuchran, who finished with a game-high 29 points, including 16 in the third quarter.

“Brennan is a heck of a player, and we knew that coming in,” Porter said. “We figured out our best bet for him was not allowing him to catch the basketball. When he was catching the ball, he was going to score, so we switched up, which I thought got us going and got us some transition buckets.”

While Czuchran continued to do his thing, Haberfield continues to seek complementary scoring to back Czuchran. Jonathon Borkoski finished with eight as his top support.

“Brennan is a great player, with a high basketball IQ and he has a knack for scoring, but we need a couple of our role players to step up,” Haberfield said. “We can’t continuously count on just one guy.”

The Jets were paced by McDiffitt’s 19 points. Tipton added 17, including 10 in the fourth. Gavin Porter posted a quiet 15, while interior players Paulick and McKivitz went for 14 and 12, respectively.

McKivitz, who received a football scholarship offer from Toledo earlier this week, added eight rebounds and five blocked shots.

Union Local was charted for just eight turnovers, which were 11 fewer than the Panthers.

The Jets, who visit Edison on Friday, completed the sweep with a 49-31 victory in the jayvee game.

Varsity scoring:

BUCKEYE LOCAL (55) – Pyciak 0, 1-2 1; Donahue 3, 0-0 7; Czuchran 11, 4-5 29; Dehnhart 0, 0-0 0; Miller 0, 2-2 2; Borkoski 2, 4-6 8; Bobo 1, 0-0 2; Moore 0, 0-0 0; Beall 1, 0-0 2; Dokes 2, 0-0 4; Savage 0, 0-1 0; Totals: 20, 11-16 55. UNION LOCAL (86) – McDiffit 7, 2-2 19; Ware 0, 0-0 0; T. Tipton 7, 2-2 17; Dunfee 2, 0-0 5; Turner 1, 0-0 2; Goodson 0, 0-0 0; Groves 0, 0-0 0; Bernheimer 0, 0-0 0; Porter 4, 4-4 15; Causby 0, 0-2 0; Abboud 0, 0-0 0; C. Tipton 0, 2-2 2; Paulick 6, 2-2 14; McKivitz 5, 2-3 12; Totals: 32, 14-17 86.

3-point goals: BL – Czuchran (3), Donahue. UL – McDiffit (3), Porter (3), T. Tipton, Dunfee.