Buckeye comes up short against Edison

CONNORVILLE — In their December 12th meeting, Edison’s fast-paced Wildcats had to erase a 20-point deficit before besting Buckeye Local by a 59-58 count.

Nearly a month later, the Wildcats had the Panthers doing the chasing as they held off a determined effort by Buckeye Local to register a 67-58 win Tuesday night.

Despite a scoreless start in the opening two minutes, coach Nate Moses’ Wildcats continue to show improvement as they boosted their record to 8-3 on the season and added to their Buckeye 8 title hopes. Edison is back in action on Thursday venturing to East Liverpool to square off with another Buckeye 8 foe.

Coach Greg Haberfield’s Panthers showed signs of making a similar type comeback, but were able to hold just one lead at 28-27 in the contest as they fell to 5-7. Buckeye will be back on the court on Friday with a trip to Lisbon to face Beaver Local in a Buckeye 8 battle.

“That was probably our best game of the year,” the Edison coach said after the win. “We’ve struggled on the road basically all year, so it’s nice to come down to Buckeye to face what we think is a very good team and come out with a victory.”

“The change that we have seen over the last three games has been on the defensive end,” he added. “We had to become more active and I think the kids bought into the defensive style. When you do, you on going to get turnovers and good steals that in turn into offensive layups on the other end.”

“Buckeye is a good team and this was a big game for them and a big game for us,” Moses said. “They played hard up at our place the last time, but our kids came to play and they went 1-0 today and that’s what we wanted.”

Edison’s Zac Kramarich opened all scoring at the six-minute mark of the first and following Mathew Carducci’s counter for the hosts, the Wildcats stretched a 2-2 deadlock into a 7-2 lead on a pair of buckets by Joe Nave and a free throw by Connor Hyndman. Shane Heitz scored from the corner for the Panthers, but the Cats got back-to-back buckets from Bryce Piatt and Hyndman to push the lead to 11-4. Edison lead at the end of the session by 13-9.

Scoring came at a much faster pace in the second frame as buckets by Heitz and Drake Novak around a Michael Speedy three closed the gap to 16-14. Edison then put together a 10-3 run that featured consecutive threes by Speedy and two scores off rebounds by Hyndman to open a 26-17 lead.

Buckeye had a scoring outburst of its own, going on a 11-1 run that gathered in the lone lead that the Panthers enjoyed in the contest. Carducci led the spree with seven points, Michael McCain added three and Sean Millard had a bucket. Piatt was able to score just before the buzzer as Edison managed a 29-28 lead at the intermission.

In the third period, Edison was able to keep the Panthers at bay despite the hosts efforts to kee up with the hot-shooting Cats. Carducci led the hosts in the frame with eight points, all from the floor, but it was the long-range shooting of the Wildcats that took its toll on any Buckeye effort. Five of the Wildcats seven goals in the third session came from beyond the arc as they grabbed a 48-42 upperhand heading into the final frame.

Edison continued to add on to its lead in the final quarter as they outscored Buckeye 19-12 including Nave’s 10-point contribution.

“Early in the game we had trouble stopping that transition and it didn’t help that we had our big guy out with foul trouble in the first quarter,” a dejected Haberfield said after the loss. “That sort of gave them the go-ahead run they needed and we didn’t shot well at the line. We were 7-19 at the line and they were 9-21 from the three-point line. They just shot the lights out tonight.”

“We’ve got to learn to finish those point-blank shots from inside the paint,” the Panther coach added. “We got several opportunities on the possession, but had a rebound, miss, rebound, miss. I think that will come, we just had a bad night, but give Edison some credit, they shot the ball really well.”

Three players reached twin figures for the winners with Nave leading all scorers with 22 points. Speedy came off the bench to add 15 points, all on treys, and Hyndman added 11. Piatt finished with nine.

Buckeye was paced by Carducci’s 18 points and 10 rebounds, Heitz closed with 16 points, Novak added 14 while Millard and McCain had 10 rebounds each.

In the jayvee contest, Edison prevailed, 41-37.

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