MORRISTOWN - Edison and Union Local hooked up in a numbers game Friday night. The boys' basketball teams combined for a mere 15 turnovers and saw their Buckeye 8 contest tied a dozen times. There were also 17 lead changes.
So, what was the deciding factor?
"Credit No. 33 for playing a whale of a game," Edison head coach Todd English said after watching Union Local's Jacob Bailey carry his Jets (6-11) to a back-and-forth, 50-48, nod over the visiting Wildcats (7-9) inside 'The Hangar' on Senior Night.
AT THE HANGAR — Edison’s Austin Abdalla goes up for two of his 14 points in Friday’s 50-48 loss at Union Local.
-- Paul Krajnyak
"He played really well. He got to the rim a lot of times and finished, but we need to do a better job defensively of not allowing that," English added.
First-year Union Local head coach Vaughn Butler agreed.
"Jacob is a player. He's coming on here pretty strong at the end of the year, and that's what I like to see," Butler said of his junior standout, who finished with a double-double of 29 points and 10 rebounds.
Union Local 50, Edison 48
Edison 15 14 8 11 - 48
Union Local 15 10 9 16 - 50
EDISON: Wickham 6 3-3 20; Hilt 1 0-0 2; Abdalla 6 2-2 14; Smyth 3 3-7 9; Bendle 0 0-0 0; Marcus 1 0-2 3; Chase 0 0-0 0; Totals: 17-46 8-14 48. 3-pointers: Wickham (5), Marcus.
UNION LOCAL: McGary 3 0-0 6; Porter 2 0-1 6; Lattocha 1 0-1 2; Ogilbee 1 0-1 2; Bailey 10 5-6 29; Dunfee 2 0-0 4. Totals: 19-39 5-9 50. 3-pointers: Bailey (4), Porter (2), Lattocha.
The teams were deadlocked at 15 after one period before Edison took a 29-25 edge into the lockerroom. Another stalemate, 37-37, set the stage for a dramatic final eight minutes, and the squads didn't disappoint.
The Wildcats' Austin Abdalla gave his team a 46-45 lead with 3:31 remaining when he completed a conventional three-point play.
However, Edison would only tally two more points while Bailey reeled off five to put the finishing touches on his stellar performance.
Following Abdalla's and-one, the Jets turned the ball over, but the visitors failed on three consecutive free throws. Bailey drove the lane and dropped in a layup to give Union Local the lead for good, 47-46, with 2:46 on the clock. After an Edison turnover, Bailey's floater in the paint bumped the count to 49-46 with 92 ticks left.
Edison's Mark Smyth scored with 52 seconds showing to make it a one-point game, and after a timeout, the Wildcats shot themselves in the foot with a pair of misconnected charity tosses 15 seconds later.
The Jets couldn't capitalize as they misfired on the front end of a bonus situation with 22.1 left, but Bailey snared an Edison miss and was quickly fouled as the clock showed 0:09.
He calmly tickled the twine with the first shot, but the second bounced off the rim and right into his hands. He passed the ball off to a teammate, who was fouled, and also missed the front end of the bonus situation.
The ball was awarded to the Wildcats with two seconds remaining after an inadvertent whistle, but their heave downcourt was batted away as Gavin Porter secured it for the win.
English said his team has been snake-bitten lately with close losses.
"We've had a couple of two-point losses of late, and we need to take care of that," he lamented. "Missing free throws and turning the ball over down the stretch didn't help."
Chad Wickham led Edison with 20 points. Abdalla also recorded a double-double with 14 lightings and 10 caroms.
Union Local is at Buckeye Local Tuesday. Edison hosts Indian Creek.