Union Local Downs Park
MORRISTOWN — The Union Local Jets have taken flight for first-year coach Zach Delman.
The Morristown-based charges executed extremely well down the stretch to pocket their third successive win Friday night, downing Wheeling Park, 55-47. It marks the first time in school history that UL has defeated the Patriots on the hardwood.
The guard-oriented and sweet-shooting Jets are 4-4 on the campaign. They will visit Harrison Central on Tuesday in search of a repeat victory against the Huskies.
The youthful Patriots, meanwhile, dropped to 2-3. It gets no easier for Michael Jebbia’s crew as powerful Morgantown visits the Palace on the Hill Tuesday night.
“It is a great feeling. Wheeling Park is the marquee basketball program in the valley,” Delman said.
“They pounded us last year. We haven’t played them very often but it is the first time we have ever beaten them.
“We just kept battling all night. We were down several times and kept scrapping back. They did a nice job of taking Jeremiah Mott away. So we used him to set picks and free up some other players.”
Wheeling Park was in possession of a 35-30 lead in the waning moments in the third quarter and seemingly in control. The momentum quickly changed, however, courtesy of a four-point play by sophomore dandy Cal Kildow.
It was a play the Patriots never truly recovered from despite taking a one-point lead into the final session. Kildow and older brother Ty Kildow stepped up huge for the hosts during the final eight minutes.
They combined for 16 (eight each) of Union Local’s 21 points in the fourth quarter to propel the Jets to the victory.
The outcome was still hanging in the balance after Park sophomore point guard Jack Stakem meshed a free throw with 2:21 left to bring the Patriots to within 46-43.
Union Local was able to burn some clock before junior Luke Menges was fouled. He made 1 of 2 at the line, boosting the Jets’ lead to 47-43 with 1:39 left.
Wheeling Park subsequently turned the ball over. Cal Kildow was fouled at the one-minute mark. He drained both for a six-point advantage.
Stakem scored 11 seconds later but the hosts used a pair of Mott free throws at the 44.9 juncture for a 51-45 edge. After a Wheeling Park miss, Ty Kildow iced the verdict with four free throws, the final two coming with 18.7 seconds to play.
“We were up 35-30 and came up empty on several possessions. We were unable to stretch the lead,” Jebbia said. “The four-point play really changed the momentum. Union Local didn’t turn the ball over tonight and played well at crunch time.
“We did a nice job of guarding Mott but their other players stepped up. Union Local has a nice team and Coach Delman does a very good job with them.”
Ty Kildow led all scorers with 20 points while Cal Kildow netted 18 tallies, including five 3-pointers. Cody Ray delivered eight points and solid inside play.
Senior standout Rhett Schodzinski and promising sophomore Keondre’ King each scored 11 points for the Patriots. Stakem finished with nine.
Wheeling Park dominated the backboards, owning a 37-23 rebounding edge. Schodzinski collected nine stray shots.
Wheeling Park committed 11 turnovers while Union Local had just six miscues.