CADIZ - Buckeye Local assistant coach Chris Heaton quipped following their 66-56 loss to Harrison Central Friday night, "It was the best of games; It was the worst of games."
Despite a second quarter where the Panthers scored just 6 points, the visitors would pull back to within 3 points of the homestanding Huskies in the fourth quarter, but down the stretch Justin Clifford's squad pulled away and prevail for the 66-56 Buckeye 8 win.
"I thought we got back to playing our brand of basketball tonight," said Clifford. "We got back to having a little bit of fun and just playing."
BUCKEYE LOCAL’S Cory Donahue goes up for a shot against Harrison Central’s Cory Yoho during Friday’s game in Cadiz. The Huskies prevailed, 66-56. Additional images may be found at cu.timesleaderonline.com
It was a very entertaining first quarter as the Panthers traded buckets with the Huskies but soon Buckeye Local would have to sit Brennan Czuchran. He was whistled for his second foul early in the contest. The senior is a catalyst for the Panthers and without his spark they struggled against the Huskies' aggressive defense.
"Give Harrison Central credit, they have intense pressure and it is real hard to deal with," admitted Buckeye Local head coach Greg Haberfield.
"They get after it, jump and rotate well, and we had a tough time getting our guys coming back to the ball and getting the ball in the middle of the floor.
"It took us out of any kind of offensive set we were trying to get into," Haberfield added. "Even in the halfcourt set they were still running and jumping, it was unconventional, but you know what? Tt worked."
Even with Czuchran back in the lineup the Panthers struggled to score, but fortunately the Huskies also hit a dry spell just before the break keeping it within reach at 32-23.
Buckeye Local came out in the third quarter and narrowed the deficit to five at the 3:18 mark but finished the stanza trailing, 44-38.
Czuchran netted a trey that closed the gap to 44-41 with 7:44 remaining. The difference in the fourth quarter was at the foul line. The Huskies were 9 of 16 while Buckeye Local netted just one of its three opportunities at the charity stripe.
Overall, Buckeye Local was 6-of-8 at the foul line, while Harrison Central made good on 18 of 30 penalty shots.
Harrison Central senior Austin Kowalski led all scoring with 20 points. Dustin Redish matched his season high with 13 points and Nate Olmstead added 11 lightings. Cory Yoho added 10 points with 7 steals. The Huskies pulled down 23 rebounds and committed just seven turnovers.
The hosts went 21 of 36 from two-point and 2 of 18 from 3 point range.
Brennan Czuchran paced the Panthers with a double-double scoring 17 points with 11 rebounds. The visitors were 16 of 30 close up and 6 of 19 from behind the arc. Buckeye Local turned over the sphere 27 times.
Buckeye Local (5-10) will host Martins Ferry Monday. Harrison Central is back in action Tuesday hosting Edison on senior night.
BUCKEYE LOCAL (56) - Pyciak 0, 0-0 0; Donahue 2, 1-2 6; Czuchran 5, 5-6 17; Miller 0, 0-0 0; Borkoski 4, 0-0 9; Moffo 1, 0-0 2; Beall 9, 0-0 20. Totals 22, 6-8. HARRISON CENTRAL (66) - K. Mitchell 2, 2-6; Kowalski 7, 5-6 20; B. Mitchell 0, 0-0 0; Rutter 3, 0-1 6; Redish 2, 9-13 13; Evans 0, 0-1 0; Yoho 5, 0-0 10; Olmstead 4, 2-3 11. Totals 23, 18-30.
3-point goals: Buckeye - Czuchran (2), Dokes (2), Borkoski, Donahue. Harrison: Kowalski, Olmstead.