Coming off a wild overtime win over Weir on Tuesday, Indian Creek's once-beaten Redskins came to Connorville Friday night looking for much more of the same against a high-scoring Buckeye Local squad.
Instead of another nail-bitter, the Redskins turned an early 7-4 lead into a catch-me-if-you-can performance and a very impressive 55-34 win over the Panthers in a key Buckeye 8 tussle.
Coach Joe Dunlevy's ultra-talented Redskins showed no signs of a letdown following Tuesday's down to the wire win in boosting their record to 8-1 on the season. Creek started the week just behind Morgantown in second place in the tough OVAC Class 5-A race.
Indian Creek will be back in action twice at home next week, hosting Brooke on Tuesday and Martins Ferry on Friday.
Coach Jay Morris' much-improved Panthers lost for only the third time this season and while falling to 5-3. Buckeye was challenging for the fourth spot in the OVAC Class 4-A chase entering the week. They stopped Martins Ferry on Tuesday.
Buckeye will return to the court on Tuesday with a road trip to Morristown to take on Union Local and then host Bellaire on Friday.
BUCKEYE LOCAL’S Greg Ring has his shot blocked by an Indian Creek defender during Friday’s game in Connorville. Additional images may be found at cu.timesleaderonline.com
"I expected another nail-biter coming in here tonight," Dunlevy said after the win. "Our kids played very well tonight. They (Buckeye) are a very improved team. We were afraid of them coming in here."
Dunlevy was quick to praise his players and they ability to adjust in the roles after injuries took its toll on his club.
"They are really into it," he said. "These kids are smart in school and smart on the basketball court. Along with that they come from very good families. These kids are very easy to coach because they are good kids and they come from good families.
"Our kids are very intelligent. They understand the game. They watch the game every chance they get.
"These kids aren't like robots on the court. It's amazing how much these kids are into basketball. They watch it on TV. They are really into it."
Neither team could manage to get on the scoreboard until Kyle Michalo scored on a layup for Buckeye with under six minutes left in the first period. A hustling Alex Young followed a rebound with a bucket to even the score and after the Panthers' Greg Ring netted two at the line for the hosts, Young cleaned the boards and his put back knotted the score at 4-4. That was the start of a 17-0 run by the Redskins.
Joe Bowers drained a couple threes and Frank Kamarec added a deuce as the Creek led by 14-4 at the initial break.
Young scored five straight and Matt Furda added a goal as the Redskin lead went to 19-4.
Buckeye's Shane Duncan led a brief Panther rally as the hosts pulled within 21-12 with an 8-2 outburst. Buckets by Justin Cummings, Bowers and Shane Winland enabled the Redskins to going into the intermission leading by 27-14.
It was much of the same as the Creek opened the second half with an 8-2 run and a 35-16 lead. Buckeye's Brennen Czuchran converted a three-point play and following a Bowers layup, Johnny Rozenek cashed two at the line and Caleb Agnew swished a jumper to cut the lead to 37-23. Scores by Kamarec, Young and Bowers closed the third as the Redskins led by 42-23.
Play in the final frame was tight, but the winner's ability to control the ball and limit the Panthers scoring opportunities sealed the win.
Bowers led all scorers with a 19-point effort that included a pair of threes and a five for eight effort at the line.
Young finished with 17 points and a game-high 10 rebounds.
Buckeye was paced by Czuchran with seven points and five rebounds while Agnew and Duncan added six each.
In the jayvee contest, Indian Creek notched a 47-36 win as Andrew Anderson tossed in 3 points, Drew Sullings added 12 and Jon Haught had 11. Jonathan Borkoski led Buckeye with 15. Varsity scoring:
INDIAN CREEK (55) Kamarec 3, 0-0 6; M. Furda 1, 0-0 2; Roar 1, 0-1 2; Young 7, 3-3 17; Haught 0, 0-0 0; Rath 0, 0-0 0; Hibbitts 1, 0-0 2; Bowers 6, 5-8 19; Cummings 1, 0-0 2; Winland 2, 1-1 5. Totals, 22-39, 9-13. BUCKEYE LOCAL (34) Malesky 0, 0-0 0; Richardson 0, 0-0 0; Czuchran 2, 3-5 7; Agnew 3, 0-0 6; Isinghood 0, 0-0 0; Barsch 1, 0-0 2; Williams, 0 0-0 0; Durbin 0, 0-0 0; Duncan 2, 2-3 6; Rozenek 1, 2-2 4; Michalo 1, 0-1 2; Ring 1, 3-6 5; Hamilton 1, 0-0 2. Totals, 12-32, 10-17.
Three-point goals: Indian Creek (2) Bowers, 2.