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Union Local soars past Bellaire, 63-16

UNION LOCAL’S Torre Kildow goes up for a shot during the first quarter of Thursday’s Division III tournament game against Bellaire in Morristown.

MORRISTOWN — Union Local began what it hopes is an extended run into the postseason Thursday evening against in convincing fashion.

The Jets — the third seed in Division III — scored the first 34 of the game and cruised to a 63-16 victory against Bellaire in a game that lasted just 59 minutes because the entire second half was played under the OHSAA’s mercy rule.

“We did what we had to do, got the win, advanced, no one got hurt and now we’ll get ready for Tusky Valley,” UL head coach Rob Barr said.

The Jets and Trojans — a rematch of a Division III district volleyball championship game — will clash next Thursday in Morristown in the district semifinal.

“All of our girls got good playing time and they all played hard, especially early, which I was happy to see,” Barr said.

The Jets wasted no time in setting the tone. They had 14 points on the board before the Big Reds, who were guilty of 25 turnovers, got the ball into their frontcourt.

“We talked about wanting to get a fast start, get out and set a tone and then we’d focus on (the district),” Barr admitted.

Union Local followed that plan to a tee. The Jets, who substituted early and often throughout the game, led 28-0 after one.

“Union Local is talented, outsized us at every spot, but I thought we’d come out and be more competitive at the start,” Bellaire head coach John Farrier said. “We didn’t get many wins, but we didn’t get blown out that often either. We could have packed it in six games ago, but these girls didn’t They continued to play hard and I am proud of them for that.”

The Big Reds finally got on the board when Lizzie McAninch tallied with 3:49 to play in the half.

The entire second half was played with the running clock.

The Jets (17-4) were led by sophomore dandy Reagan Vinskovich, who pumped in 20 points and grabbed eight rebounds. Classmate Torre Kildow finished with 15. Junior Hannah Merritt added 11.

Senior point guard Casey Kildow scored six points and played a brilliant floor game once again. Keira Gregor netted seven points.

The Big Reds were led by McAninch and freshman Allie Ault, who went for six points.

While the Big Reds finished with just a 7-16 record, Farrier saw progress.

“I’ve had seasons where we’ve won a lot of games, but coming to practice was tough because people’s attitudes weren’t always the best, but this group made coming to practice each day a joy,” Farrier said. “They may not have made winning plays on the basketball court, but they’ve made winning plays in life, throughout the season, and their careers.”

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