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Injuries Hamper Jets

Union Local has three starters on shelf

November 27, 2012
By KIM NORTH , The Intelligencer / Wheeling News-Register

MORRISTOWN - The Union Local boys' basketball team resembled a MASH unit when practice began some two weeks ago.

The Jets had three potential starters sidelined with injuries sustained during the latter portion of the football season.

''We are like the walking wounded right now,'' second-year coach Vaughn Butler said. ''We've got three players injured that we were going to base our offense around.''

Those players are junior Eric Dunfee (ankle) and sophomores Gavin Porter (shoulder) and Colton McKivitz (foot).

''With those three guys out early on, it could prove to be a blessing in disguise,'' Butler said. ''It will give us three scrimmages and a number of practices without them. That gives other kids a chance to step up and show us what they can do while those guys are out.

''In the long run, that could help us immensely.''

The Jets will rely on veteran senior Jacob Bailey goes. The four-year letterwinner will be starting for the third year. He scored 304 points last season and, according to his head coach, has a legitimate shot at reaching the coveted 1,000-point plateau.

''Jacob has proved to be a real leader," Butler said. ''He is a great kid with great work habits. We need him to stay healthy in order for us to be successful. He's missed two games in each of his first three seasons.''

Bailey is also an outstanding free throw shooter, 3-point shooter and rebounder. He has been a multiple all-OVAC and all-district performer.

Porter, who was the Jets' quarterback when he separated his throwing - and shooting - shoulder.

''He's getting better day-by-day," Butler said. ''Gavin had a pretty productive freshman season for us, and we are expecting big things from him when he recovers. He's a hard worker and will help us defensively, as well.''

The 6-foot-1 Porter averaged nearly eight points an outing last season.

"He got some very valuable playing experience at the varsity level," Butler noted. "Hopefully, he can improve on that this season.''

Dunfee, a 6-0 all-around junior performer, will be counted on for some scoring and inside play on both ends of the court. He injured an ankle during the Jets' eighth game of the gridiron campaign.

McKivitz, when healthy, will give Union Local one of the top big men in the Ohio Valley. The 6-6, 240-pounder transferred to Morristown after a freshman year at East Richland Christian.

Rounding out the roster is senior Collin Jones (5-10), juniors Cody Tipton (6-2) and Clay Barnes (5-10); sophomore Bryan Bannan (6-4); and freshmen Kaleb McDiffitt (5-7) and Trenton Tipton (6-2).

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