Union Local rolls past Ferry, 54-25

MORRISTOWN — There was probably no team more excited to start the season than the Union Local Jets.

After all, head coach Zach Delman returns four starters from a club that caught fire late in the season and advanced to the district tournament.

Take that experience, couple it with opening against a Martins Ferry squad, which was decimated by graduation with nary a letterman back, and it was a perfect recipe for opening night in ‘The Hangar.’

The Jets came out soaring — and burying 3-pointers — and never looked back en route to a convincing 54-25 victory against the Riders in front of a large crowd.

“I was impressed with our intensity,” Delman said. “We’ve talked about how we wanted to come out and create an environment here from the get go. I thought we did a good job of that and our kids seem to play much better when we’re able to get up and get after it.”

The building of the atmosphere actually began in pre-game warmup when the lights in the gym were turned off just before Union Local took the court. The crowd came alive and it was all the fuel the Jets needed.

Union Local’s brother tandem of Ty and Cal Kildow did what they did a lot of last season and that’s knock down bonus goals. Actually, they combined for three in the first quarter and seven in the opening half, which allowed the Jets to forge a 31-18 upperhand.

While the Jets were making triples, creating easy scoring chances by turning the Riders over by virtue of their pressure defense, Martins Ferry was simply searching for an identity much of the night. Actually, according to second-year head coach Derek Edwards, it may take quite some time to find one, too.

“We knew coming into this game that even though we had a few seniors, we had no experience,” Edwards said. “We understand that Union Local is a very talented and well-coached team that was going to come out and pumped up. They hit some 3s on us, but I like how my team battled and defended in the second half. I saw some signs.”

The Riders, who continually lost Cal Kildow in the corner to a tune of five, first-half bonus goals, limited the Jets to just one make from behind the arc in the second half. However, the Jets turned up the defense, too. They limited the Riders to only three field goals total and just seven points.

“We got hot early and when Ty and Cal are making shots (from the perimeter) it just opens everything else up,” Delman said. “It was a total team effort. To hold anyone to 25 points and only seven in a half is pretty impressive. It’s a credit to our defense and the kids have really bought in. Even when we got a (big) lead, they didn’t rest or take plays off. I am pleased with that.”

All told, Union Local placed three players in double figures. Cal Kildow led the way with 17, while older brother, Ty, finished a point behind. Hard-working senior Cody Ray finished with 13 points. He also collected nine rebounds and was solid on the defensive end against the much bigger Deandre Pugh, who led the Riders with eight points.

“We understand that it’s not going to be the next game or maybe even the next five or 10 games because this team needs to get some experience under its belts and we have to be patient,” Edwards said. “This team has potential and I am really excited looking forward about this team.”

Pugh’s scoring production was backed by talented freshman Logan Smith, who went for six.

Martins Ferry was charted for 22 turnovers in the game.

Union Local returns to action Tuesday at Buckeye Trail, while Martins Ferry is off until Dec. 9 at Linsly.