Union Local gets by Martins Ferry
• Porter passes father on school’s all-time scoring list
MARTINS FERRY — Union Local appeared headed for a blowout victory high atop the Purple City Monday night in girls’ high school basketball action. The Jets led by as many as 17 points in the first half as senior standout Haley Porter had 17 herself.
However, Martins Ferry isn’t the pushover it was at the beginning of the season. The Purple Riders withstood the early barrage, cut the deficit to seven and had possession of the ball with five-and-a-half minutes remaining.
The hosts were never able to get any closer as Casey Kildow’s basket ignited a 9-2 run that led to a 61-52 Buckeye 8 triumph inside Tolbert Gymnasium.
“Martins Ferry is really improved from the first time we played them,” Union Local head coach Kelly Hanlon said of a 64-51 victory back in early December. “I know they have two new players. It was a whole different game than we played against them the first time.”
Porter netted 10 points in the first quarter and added seven more in the second as the Jets (11-8) led 19-11 after one period and 38-24 at the half. After the Purple Riders sliced the margin to eight, 41-33, at the halfway mark of the third panel, Porter moved ahead of her dad, Ben, on the Union Local all-time scoring list when she connected on a free throw attempt that made it 42-33. It gave her 1,446 career markers. Earlier in the contest she passed Erin Mason to become the second all-time leading scorer in school history, trailing only Emily Miller by less than 100 tallies.
“I thought in the third quarter we didn’t show much defensively,” Hanlon admitted. “The third quarter was not our best out of the game, but I thought the girls kept their heads on toward the end of the game. I had to call a couple of timeouts to get them to do that and they calmed down a little bit and did what they were supposed to do.”
Clutch free-throw shooting down the stretch from Emily Loase (4-4) and Hannah Porter (2-2) sealed the deal. Loase finished with 17 points and six boards to back Haley Porter’s double-double of 25 and 10 rebounds. Porter also charted five steals, four assists and a trio of blocks. Hannah Porter chipped in 13 points and four steals.
“We’ve still got some work to do,” Hanlon advised. “Especially on the defensive end.”
Martins Ferry’s big bug-a-boo was not making shots in the paint, which is something that first-year head coach Paul Matuska said has been a recurring problem.
“We missed too many easy shots. We’ve got to fix that,” he noted. “That’s been our nemesis most of the year … we miss the easy shots. The girls played good on defense. They played hard.”
Martins Ferry shot 43.6 percent (24-55) for the game, but couldn’t connect when it needed to.
“Our motto this year was to get better as the season progressed,” he continued. “We played against a pretty good player in (Haley) tonight. I thought we did a pretty good job on her, especially in the second half.”
Madison Ging and Jaden Stalder evenly divided 20 points to lead Martins Ferry (5-16). Richella Spielvogel added nine points and 11 rebounds, while Madison DeLuca had nine points and Jacie Wells added eight markers and six boards. Ging also had half-a-dozen rebounds.
Union Local charted 12 turnovers, five less than Martins Ferry.