Second-half run lifts UL?past Bellaire, 61-49

MORRISTOWN – The Union Local Jets (2-2) rode a commanding 17-0 run between the third and fourth quarters all the way down to the end, after trailing for the better part of the game to take a 61-49 victory Friday night. The Bellaire Big Reds (0-4) were off to a commanding first half start as they carried an early 11-6 lead after one period of play.

J.R. Battista’s Big Red squad looked to slow down tempo to a half court set in the opening part of the game, clashing with the Jets plan to push the ball at a much quicker pace.

The Big Reds were able to keep Union Local’s offense at bay, forcing them to have much lengthier gaps between shots than they would have liked staggering the Jets rhythm.

Jets’ senior Jacob Bailey led the way for scorers netting 21, including 14 in the second half, while enjoying a 7 for 11 effort from the line. Bailey, who ignited the late rally, took a Bellaire miscue down for a bucket and foul to begin an onslaught of offense that seemed to happen in a blink of an eye.

After notching that free throw to tack on the extra one, he turned around and took an in bounds pass away for a quick five-point spurt in just as many seconds on the clock.

“They made more plays than we did down the stretch and made us turn it over, so you have to give credit to them.” Battista commented of his opponent

Another pair of jumped passes by Gavin Porter and Trenton Tipton quickly erased the seven point margin the Jets had been battling throughout. By the time Bellaire netted another basket, on an out of bounds lob play to Nick Patrone who collected 8 on the night, Union Local sat with a 49-40 lead with five minutes remaining.

“The three guys up front for us – Gavin, Trenton, and Kaleb (McDiffett) – did an excellent job pressuring the ball. I thought they did a great job all night getting after it,” Union Local head coach Vaughn Butler praised.

“Trenton had a big night as a freshman. It’s great to see a young guy step up like that” he continued. Tipton ended the night with 10.

The Big Reds would get a chance to extend the last two minutes for a come back, but being in double bonus worked against them as the Jets knocked down 8 of 11 freebies in the last stanza. Bellaire did manage to pull within 5 at one point. They were lead by Nathan Steele with 14, and Kenny Hess who chipped in 9 for the visitors.

“I was proud of the way we played at the end of the game. We really came together” added Butler. Union Local heads to Barnesville Tuesday as Bellaire takes on Edison this evening.

Union Local was a 62-49 winner in the reserve game.

Muklewicz may be reached at

UNION LOCAL (61) McDiffett 1, 5-6 7; Sill 0 0-0 0; Tipton 4, 4-4 10; Dunfee 1, 1-2 3; Causby 0 0-0 0;Haverty 0, 0-0 0; Jones 3, 0-0 7; Smolira 0, 0-0 0; Porter 5, 3-4 15; McKivitz 0 0-0 0; Bailey 7, 7-11 21; C. Tipton 0, 0-0 0. Totals: 21 20-27 61. BELLAIRE (49) Bentz 0 0-0 0; Elison 1, 3-4 5; Back 2, 0-0 4; Callarik 1, 0-0 2; Ke. Hess 4, 1-4 9; Ky. Hess 0, 0-0 0; Kovalyk 0, 0-0 0; Kimbro 2, 0-0 5; Patrone 4, 0-0 8; Pickens 0, 0-0 0; Ramsay 0 0-0 0; Steele 6, 0-0 14; Westlake 1, 0-0 2. Totals: 21 4-8 49.

Three point field goals: B – Steele 2, Kimbro 1) UL Porter 2, Jones 1, T. Tipton 1.