Union Local girls come up short at ‘Classic in the Country’
BERLIN — Union Local arrived at the Perry Reese Jr. Center at Hiland High School honored to be invited to the annual Classic in the Country.
The Jets departed for Belmont County, however, with a little bit more emotion and knowledge about themselves.
Union Local learned that it fully belonged on one of Ohio girls basketball’s biggest stages, it became a better team by playing in its first legitimate close game of the season, but most of the all, the Jets were disappointed because they allowed a fourth-quarter lead slip away in a 65-63 setback to a talented Applecreek Waynedale squad.
“I think we showed we belonged here,” Union Local head coach Rob Barr said. “Obviously, I wish we had won, but, honestly, I would have rather lost this game by two than beat someone by 60 because this game will help us down the road.”
The Jets, who hadn’t tasted defeat since their season opener at Fort Frye in early December, are now 9-2 on the season, entering a Monday rematch with Shadyside.
“We didn’t win (Saturday), but we learned,” Barr said. “Playing in this (event) was one of our goals. We wanted to get invited to this. It was an honor. Maybe it didn’t turn out how we wanted, but it was a good weekend.”
Indeed. But, the unfortunate part, it was really close to being a great weekend.
Union Local, who trailed by as many as 11 in the second quarter, fought back to take a three-point lead into the fourth.
In the fourth, however, both teams went relatively cold from the floor. Except for Waynedale’s Brooklyn Troyer. The Malone-bound senior caught fire, scoring 10 of her team-high 21.
Union Local was nursing a 61-58 lead after junior Hannah Merritt cashed two free throws, but Brooklyn Yoder answered right back for Waynedale, drilling its 12th bonus goal of the game.
Sophomore All-Ohioan Reagan Vinskovich broke a 61-all deadlock with the Jets’ lone, fourth-quarter field goal with 1:13 to play.
Troyer was fouled in the act and calmly sank both free throws to tie the game once again at 63.
Union Local successfully ran almost 30 seconds off, but Waynedale doubled the Jets, who were looking to work the ball into the interior and it led to a turnover.
“We had the look we wanted, but they made a play, got their hands on the ball,” Barr said. “I thought about a timeout and I almost called it right before the turnover, but I really liked what we had with Keira (Gregor) with a nice post and their best player, who had four fouls, right on her. So, I am thinking, we’re either going overtime or Keira is going to get fouled and will go to the line with a chance to win it.”
Troyer had other ideas.
As the double team converged, Troyer stepped in the passing lane and raced the other way for a layup with 4.1 seconds showing.
Union Local’s last-ditch effort came nowhere close to the rim.
“They made the play at the end of the game, and we didn’t,” Barr said.
Vinskovich led all scorers in the game with 24 points. Classmate Torre Kildow added 12, while Gregor finished with 10.
Waynedale, which is now 10-1 on the season, received 18 points from Kelsey Wolfe. All six of her buckets were treys. Laney Murphy added 10.
Waynedale 65, Union Local 63
UNION LOCAL (63) — C. Kildow 3, 1-3 8; T. Kildow 5, 2-2 12; Merritt 2, 3-4 9; Gregor 4, 2-2 10; Vinskovich 7, 10-11 24. WAYNEDALE (65) — Geiser 1, 0-0 2; Wolfe 6, 0-0 18; Raber 0, 0-0 0; Murphy 3, 2-2 10; Yoder 1, 0-0 3; Mast 0, 0-0 0; Miller 2, 0-0 5; Yoder 2, 0-0 6; Troyer 7, 6-6 21; Totals: 21, 8-8 65.
3-point goals: UL — C. Kildow, Merritt (2). W — Wolfe (6), Murphy (2), Yoder, Miller, A. Yoder (2), Troyer.