Union Local hikes Trail

DOVER – Union Local bent but didn’t break Tuesday night in opening Ohio Division III girls’ basketball sectional tournament play by pulling away from Buckeye Trail, 54-41, inside Dover High School.

The Jets grabbed the lead for good during the opening moments of the second quarter and withstood plenty of Warriors rallies to earn a return date to Tuscarawas County on Saturday. There, Head Coach Kelley Hanlon’s squad will face Garaway at 3 p.m. in the second game of a matinee twinbill. The Pirates thumped Martins Ferry, 72-27, in Tuesday night’s first game.

Harrison Central will face Tuscarawas Valley in Saturday’s first contest at 1 p.m. The two winners advance to district semifinal action at Steubenville High School at 8 p.m. Feb. 27.

”They did enough to get the job done,” said Hanlon, who was happy with the victory, but thought her team was a little flat for a tournament opener.

”It just wasn’t how we’re used to playing.”

The Jets struggled offensively for the most part, but so did the Warriors (8-15), who finished 15 of 57 from the field.

”We shot the ball almost the same as the last time we played them,” Buckeye Trail head coach Nicole Stevens said. ”We got the looks we were looking for. We just didn’t capitalize.”

No more was that the case than during the second quarter when the Warriors didn’t didn’t convert a field goal and finished with three points.

Union Local (15-8), struggled, too, but scored eight of the first nine points during the period to grab a 21-15 advantage.

Hanlon said the pace of the game was familiar.

”That’s how we played the last time we played them,” she said, noting the Jets’ post play wasn’t as effective as it usually is.

Union Local’s guards came up with some help, though, paced by Kylie Russell’s team-leading 20 points.

”Props to Kylie Russell,” Hanlon said. ”She played her best on offense and defense. She was ready to play.”

The Jets took a 24-17 lead into halftime, but the Warriors started the second half with a 6-0 run keyed by four points from Allison Sichina.

Russell canned another trey giving the Jets a 27-23 lead. After Katie Larrich hit one of two free throws to cut the lead to 27-24, Alli Delaney and Russell hit back-to-back buckets giving Union Local a seven-point cushion, 31-24, with 1:30 left in the third.

With 6:32 remaining in the game, Mikayla Patton scored off a nifty feed from Cori Medley giving the Jets their largest lead at 34-26.

Union Local put the wraps on the victory with a 6-0 run later in the period, culminated by an Abby Collins jumper off-glass making the score 44-33 with about 2 minutes remaining.

Medley finished with 14 points.

Catie Smith finished her prep career with 12 points for Buckeye Trail, while Lexe Starr ended up with 10.

BUCKEYE TRAIL (41) – Warne 0 0-2 0; Smith 3 6-9 12; Starr 4 0-0 10; Cross 2 0-0 4; Hensley 1 1-4 3; Sichina 4 0-0 8; Larrich 1 2-4 4; Williams 0 0-0 0. Totals 15 9-19 41. UNION LOCAL (54) – Medley 3 8-12 14; Butler 0 0-0 0; Collins 1 0-0 2; Clark-Patterson 0 1-2 1; Delaney 2 3-6 8; Russell 6 5-8 20; Patton 3 1-2 7; Rucker 1 0-0 2. Totals 16 18-30 54.

3-Point Goals: B – Starr (2); U – Russell (3), Delaney.

Thorp can be reached at rthorp@timesleaderonline.com