CONNORVILLE - Buckeye Local and Indian Creek were two of the last teams on the Ohio side of the river to open their respective 2013-14 seasons.
After altering their schedules for others due to post-season football or for inclement weather, the Panthers and Redskins finally got it going Thursday evening.
It was well worth the wait for the Redskins and head coach Joe Dunlevy. Shooting out to a 14-7 lead after one and 25-9 at the intermission, Indian Creek fought off a feisty Buckeye Local outfit for a 55-39 victory.
BUCKEYE LOCAL’S Jonathon Borkoski goes up for a shot during the first quarter as he’s defended by an Indian Creek player during their mutual season opener Thursday evening in Connorville. The Redskins prevailed, 55-39. Additional images may be found at cu.timesleaderonline.com
"This was a typical first game," said intense Indian Creek head coach Joe Dunlevy. "I thought we played well at times and not so well at other times. It wasn't that we weren't playing hard at times, but we didn't play real smart."
The Redskins, though, in charge basically all evening continued to let the Panthers hang around. Buckeye Local, which trailed by as many as 18 on two ocassions in the second half managed to get within 11 twice and 10 once, but couldn't get any closer as the Greg Haberfield era began.
"We really struggled from the get-go to put the ball in the basket," Haberfield said. "Their pressure was very intense and we had trouble dealing with it. We had trouble getting the ball inside and shots weren't falling for us and it just kind of breaks down from there."
Each time the Panthers appeared as if they might be ready to get on a run, Indian Creek answered with a mini spurt of its own to keep Buckeye at bay.
"Even though some of these guys are seniors, it was still the first time in the fire for a lot of these guys," Dunlevy said. "We gutted it out at the end. Us and Buckeye are next-door neighbors and their kids played hard. We missed some shots inside, but Buckeye was in there scratching and clawing and that happens."
Indian Creek got out of the gates quickly thanks to its perimeter shooting. The Redskins knocked down four, first-quarter 3-pointers, which took Haberfield by a little bit of surprise.
"Usually, Indian Creek is a team that will run a continous offense with a lot of passing and back-door cuts, so I was impressed with their shooters," Haberfield said of Jonathan Woodbury, Andrew Anderson and Jonanthan Haught.
Buckeye Local, meanwhile, was led by senior Brennan Czuchran, who overcame first-half foul trouble to finish with 24. Of those, he netted 20 in the second half.
"We were on and off (scoring the ball) in the pre-season," Haberfield said. "We really worked on it in practice and I thought we'd be turning the corner, but evidently, we're not there yet. I think we've got a couple of seniors who are going to step up, but it's a matter of who's going to do it and when. We just have to continue to work and find some other options and looks because we'll not be able to depend on (Czuchran) all the time."
The Panthers managed a split with a 35-22 victory in the jayvee encounter.
Both teams are in action tonight. Buckeye visits Martins Ferry and Indian Creek
INDIAN CREEK (55) - Foldy 3, 2-4 8; Roar 0, 2-3 2; Haught 5, 2-2 14; Durbin 6, 2-2 14; Woodbury 2, 0-0 6; Huynlt 0, 0-0 0; Greco 0, 0-0 0; Anderson 3, 4-5 11; Coppa 0, 0-0 0; Starkey 0, 0-0 0; Totals: 19, 12-16 55. BUCKEYE LOCAL (39) - Donahue 1, 0-0 2; Czuchran 6, 10-11 24; Moffo 1, 1-2 3; Beall 1, 0-2 2; Borkoski 1, 1-6 3; Pyciak 0, 0-0 0; Faulkner 0, 0-1 0; Moore 0, 0-0 0; Dokes 1, 3-4 5; Miller 0, 0-0 0; Totals: 11, 15-26 39.
3-point Goals: IC - Haught (2), Woodbury (2), Anderson. BL - Czuchran (2).