Buckeye Local's Kyle Michalo scored a game-high 22 points and Shane Duncan added a season-high 12 as the Panthers pushed themselves back to the .500 mark with an impressive 68-43 win over Weir in Connorville Friday night.
Starting a seven-day stretch that will see coach Jay Morris' Panthers play five games, Buckeye boosted its record to 9-9 with the win.
Buckeye will be back in action with a matinee contest opposite St. Clairsville today, then host Shenandoah on Tuesday in its first OVAC consolation pool game, followed by the second OVAC contest at Barnesville on Wednesday and a make-up game with Bellaire at home on Thursday. Buckeye topped Weir in their January 12th meeting by 59-33.
BUCKEYE LOCAL’S Kyle Michalo out races a Weir High defender for a loose ball during Friday’s game in Connorville. Additional images may be found at cu.timesleaderonline.com
Coach Mike Granato's Red Riders (1-15) host Edison on Tuesday and travel to Bridgeport on Friday in their OVAC matchups. They are slated to take on East Fairmont tonight.
"We played well despite having only two practices in the past week," Morris said after the win. "This is the first we've played on this floor in eight days. They (Weir) played very and very hard, I happy that we were able to hold them to just 15 points in the second half."
"This was senior night for us," Morris added, "And in the 23 years that I have been coaching, this is the finest group of kids I've had. I'm very proud of each one of them."
Buckeye jumped out to a 14-8 lead in the first quarter, paced in part by the scoring of Michalo and some slick passes by Brennen Czuchran. Before the frame ended, the Red Riders rallied to take the lead at 15-14 on a three-pointer by Shane Davis and back-to-back buckets by Andre Sims. Duncan closed the frame with a nice put-back at the buzzer to hand the winners a 16-15 lead.
In the second session, the timely scoring by Duncan and guard Caleb Agnew enabled the hosts to push the lead to 25-19. Michael Curtis and Josh Groves led a brief comeback that pulled the Riders to within 25-24, but Duncan, Michalo and John Rozenek sparked the Panthers as they took a 31-28 lead into the intermission.
"I've always thought that basketball was a game of runs," Michalo commented after the game. "And this game had a lot of them. We were able to capitalize on things and everything was just clicking for us tonight."
In the third period, Buckeye went on another run and it proved to be a decisive one. Led by Michalo, Rozenek, Agnew, Czuchran and Tommy Hamilton, the Panthers went on a 17-0 run that pushed the lead to 48-28. Dylan Cassiadoro's trey with 2:13 on the clock halted the Buckeye outburst. The Panthers led by 54-33 after three periods.
"It felt good to score," Duncan said. "If we can continue to play well and win, we could finish with a winning record and that is one of our goals."
Aside from Michalo's 22, Buckeye got 12 from Duncan and 10 from Czuchran. Rozenek closed with five points and a team-high 11 bounds. Hamilton added six points and five blocks.
Davis paced the Red Rider scoring with 14 points while Curtis added eight.
In the jayvee contest, Jonathan West scored 24 points and Ryan Kirk tossed in 20 as Weir notched a 58-51 win. Jonathan Borkoski led Buckeye with 20. Varsity scoring:
BUCKEYE LOCAL (68) - Marshall 1, 0-0 3; Czuchran 4, 0-0 10; Agnew 3, 0-0 7; Donahue 0, 0-0 0; Borkoski 0, 0-0 0; Williams 1, 0-0 3; Martin 0, 0-0 0; Duncan 5, 2-3 12; Carducci 0, 0-0 0; Rozenek 2, 1-2 5; Michalo 9, 4-6 22; Pyciak 0, 0-0 0' Hamilton 3, 0-0 6. Totals, 28-64, 7-11. WEIR (43) - Knight 0, 0-0 0; Vizakley 0, 0-0 0; Wood 0, 0-0 0 Davis 6, 0-0 14; Cassiadoro 1, 0-0 3; Groves 2, 0-2 5; Sims 3, 1-2 7; Curtis 4, 0-2 8; Kirk 2, 0-0 6. Totals, 18-50 1-6.
Three-point goals: Buckeye Local (5) - Marshall, 1; Czuchran, 2; Agnew, 1; Williams, 1. Weir (6) - Davis, 2; Cassiadoro, 1; Groves 1; Kirk, 2.