CONNORVILLE - Country music legend Jerry Reed had a hit many moons ago with "When You're Hot, You're Hot."
First-year Buckeye Local boys' basketball head coach Greg Haberfield and his homestanding Panthers were singing that Grammy-award winning tune at halftime of their Buckeye 8 contest with visiting Edison Wednesday night.
However, the flip side of Reed's single could've been "When You're Not, You're Not," which is what Buckeye Local was in the second half in blowing a 17-point halftime lead to drop a 63-58 decision to the Wildcats (5-10) in Buckeye 8 action.
"We really came out strong in the first half. All gears seemed to be clicking. Everyone playing with one another," Haberfield said. "We ran the floor well (in the first half).
"But, we came out in the second half and took our foot off the gas pedal a little bit," he explained. "That's when teams creep up on you, and they caught us. Give (Edison) credit. They didn't give up. They kept battling and battling."
Buckeye Local (4-10) actually led by 18 three times in the latter stages of the first half, and even held a 45-29 advantage with 6:01 left in the third quarter when Jonathon Borkoski meshed a pair of free throws.
However, it was all downhill from there on and the brakes weren't working any time soon for the Panthers, who were outscored 39-17 after the halftime break.
"That's our first road win of the season. We were 0-8," Edison head coach Nate Moses said with a smile. "You only have to lead once in the game, and that's what we did.
"This is kind of the tale of our season," he continued. "We don't play very well in the first half, but we turn things around in the second half."
Buckeye Local tallied the first eight points of the game and led 20-17 after eight minutes behind 14 points from senior scoring sensation Brennan Czuchran.
Czuchran's step-back three from the right wing at the 5:30 mark of the second quarter ignited a 13-0 run that built a 37-19 bulge. Matt Donahue was the beneficiary of some sloppy ballhandling by the Wildcats that led to easy layup baskets. He had all eight of his markers in the period.
Buckeye Local made eight of its first 10 shots of the period before settling for 10-for-15. Meanwhile, Edison could only connect on two of 17 attempts, including 0-for-6 from behind the bonus arc.
"Our kids really battled," Moses said. "We got on them pretty good at halftime, and they responded like we thought they would."
Fueling the Wildcats' second-half surge were juniors Erik Lee and Skylar Wilken, who teamed for all 30 of their points after the intermission. Lee had nine and Wilken five as the visitors cut the deficit to 45-40 at the end of three quarters.
A conventional three-point play by Borkoski with 5:28 left to play gave Buckeye Local a 52-47. Czuchran's fifth trifecta of the game 90 seconds later made it 55-49, but Edison answered with a Wilken triple that sparked a game-ending 11-3 run.
"In the second half we were playing more not to lose than to win," Haberfield noted. "Their run-and-jump (defense) hurt us in the second half, especially the third quarter. It really took us out of what we wanted to do on the offensive end."
The Panthers were charted with seven of their 17 turnovers in the eight-minute stretch. They then added five more in the fateful fourth frame.
Wilken, who went to the lockerroom midway through the second quarter after a disagreement with Moses, netted eight of his 13 points in the fourth quarter. He hit a pair of huge three's, including the one that jump-started the winning spurt.
"We definitely got on some kids at halftime. We challenged them," Moses said. "No doubt about it. This is a big win for our program."
Czuchran led all scorers in the game with 27 points, but only eight came in the second half. Borkoski finished with 10. Lee paced Edison with 17, four more than Wilken. Freshman Bryce Piatt chipped in 10, including a pair of bonus bombs, the last tying the contest at 55. Moments later, he worked himself free on a backdoor cut for an easy layup and the Jefferson Countians first lead of the game at 57-55.
Lee also had nine rebounds as Edison led 40-29 off the glass. Czuchran had eight boards.
The Panthers don't have long to dwell on the setback as the No. 1 ranked team in Division III - undefeated Union Local - visits tonight.
"I just told the kids you get too many chances to play against the No. 1 team in the state, so we need to let everything loose," Haberfield said.
Buckeye Local won the JV game.
EDISON (63) - Allese 3 0-0 7; Lee 5 7-15 17; Horan 3 2-2 8; Wilken 5 0-1 13; Piatt 4 0-0 10; Jones 1 0-0 2; Woika 2 2-4 6; Nave 0 0-0 0; Kramarich 0 0-0 0; Totals: 23-51 11-22. BUCKEYE LOCAL (58) - Czuchran 11 0-0 27; Donahue 4 0-0 8; Borkoski 3 4-5 10; Beall 2 0-0 4; Dokes 3 0-1 7; Moffo 0 0-0 0; Pyciak 1 0-0 2; Miller 0 0-0 0; Totals; 24-52 4-6.
Three-Point Goals: Edison 6 (Allese, Wilken 3, Piatt 2); Buckeye Local 6 (Czuchran 5, Dokes)
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