Union Local soars over Creek for Buckeye 8 title
ST. CLAIRSVILLE — Indian Creek head coach Steve Eft had just watched his team put forth a second quarter in which it outscored Union Local.
He knew, however, that the Jets were primed to make a run in the early moments of the third quarter.
They did, and the Redskins had no answer.
Union Local opened the second half on a huge run and really never looked back, en route to claiming a decisive 68-49 victory to repeat as Buckeye 8 girls basketball champions Saturday evening on John Jenkins Court at St. Clairsville High School as part of the league’s annual hoops crossover day.
“I knew the first three minutes of the second half were going to be huge,” Eft said. “We missed shots, and they made shots. That was pretty much it.”
Eft was spot on in his analysis.
The Jets capitalized seemingly on every opportunity in the second half. Many of those opportunities came from the interior where sophomore post Reagan Vinskovich simply was too much for Creek.
Vinskovich, an All-Ohioan a season ago, scored 15 of her 25 points in the second half. On top of her scoring, she did yeoman’s work on the glass, ripping down a game-high 17 boards.
With Vinskovich leading the way in the third with seven points, Union Local didn’t slow down in the fourth. It embarked on an 11-0 run that allowed the lead to swell to as many as 25.
“The way the first half went, I thought this (game) was going to come down to the wire similar to our game last Saturday did,” UL head coach Rob Barr said. “At halftime, I told the girls, ‘I think we’re the better team, but we’re going to have to go out and prove it in the second half.’ Reagan was absolutely huge for us.”
While Vinskovich was doing her thing, the Jets became especially tough to handle because the 3-point shot was going down, too. Whether it was Casey Kildow, Torre Kildow, who was serenaded for her 16th birthday by the Jets fans following the game, or junior Hannah Merritt, the Jets hit six triples, which was double what the Redskins connected on.
“Hannah Merritt kept us in it in the first half with a couple of big 3s, a few pull-ups and then everyone else really stepped up in the second half,” Barr said. “I was really happy with the effort of Keira Gregor and Alleigh Cheatham, who had great games for us.”
With the Jets basically scoring any way they chose in the first half, Indian Creek simply couldn’t keep up. Leading scorer Kylie Kiger was limited to just one field goal in the game.
“We thought, coming into the game, we’d need at least 60 (points) to give us a shot to win,” Eft said. “Obviously, we didn’t get there. Give Union Local credit. Reagan is a heck-of-a player, and when they’re making 3s like that, they’re really tough to stop.”
Vinskovich’s production fueled the Jets, who are now 12-2 on the season. But, Torre Kildow turned in 16 points, while Merritt and Casey Kildow each had 10. Gregor seven points and nine rebounds.
The Redskins (14-2) were led by hard-working senior post Taylor Jones. She posted 23 points and a team-high six rebounds. Makenzie Taylor added 13 points.
Both teams return to action Monday. Indian Creek welcomes Carrollton, while the Jets play host to Monroe Central.
Martins Ferry 60, East Liverpool 44
Martins Ferry put the finishing touches on a solid, three-victory week with a decisive win over the Potters for third place in the league.
The Purple Riders were led by junior Maria Clark, who poured in 20 points. Eve Agnew hit four bonus goals for 12 and freshman Ella McFarland finished with 10.
Bellaire 44, Beaver Local 27
Bellaire put the brakes on a five-game losing streak with a solid win over the Beavers.
The Big Reds were led by Jenna Miller, who scored a season-high 15. Lizzie McAninch added 10.
St. Clairsville 67, Edison 34
St. Clairsville raced to a 21-5 lead after one and cruised to the victory over the Wildcats in the opening game of the day.
The Red Devils placed four in double figures. Leading the way was Shae Brookover, , who scored 15. Macy Malin and Alexis Thoburn evenly divided 26 tallies, while Sydney Miller added 10.