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Buckeye rallies past Edison for 2-0 start

Photo/KRISTIN MAZGAJ BUCKEYE LOCAL'S Luke Darrah goes up for a shot during Friday's game against Edison.

CONNORVILLE — It’s always nice for a team to have an early lead, but more important to have a lead when the final horn sounds. Buckeye Local coach Chris Heaton has proof of the accuracy of that statement.

Only two games into the new season, the Panthers have found themselves trailing through the early quarters before turning on the extra effort to pull out a win. Friday night was another classic as Heaton’s squad erased a six-point deficit in the final minutes to pull out a 67-64 win over visiting Edison in Connorville.

Coming off a rugged three-win season a year ago, Buckeye has opened this season with a 2-0 mark. The Panthers rallied from behind to Indian Creek in the opener and followed the same script on Friday. The Panthers return to action on Tuesday with a road trip to face Beaver Local.

Wildcats’ coach… Moses, saw his team miss a few opportunities early and again late in the game to seal a win as they dropped to 0-2 on the season. Edison dropped its opener to East Liverpool. They take on neighboring Indian Creek on Tuesday.

“The effort that our kids put in to get back into this game was just phenomenal,” Heaton said the game. “They never quit and that’s what you want to see in a team in is that no quit attitude. I think we are headed in the right direction.”

“It takes a win like that to create some enthusiasm, but it would be nice to have a lead early in the game for a change,” he added. “We had to come back at Indian Creek and do it again here. We put an effort into fighting back and hats off to our kids they never quit.”

“We’ve got depth and that’s one thing about our team. It’s great as a coach to have depth and a bunch of kids that are interchangeable,” Heaton said.

Edison was certainly on top of its game early behind the shooting and rebounding of Alec McBane, who finished with a game high 29 points and 12 rebounds, and Noah Woods. The duo combined for 13 of the Wildcats 18 points. In the first period, the visitors took advantage of their control of the boards and the Panthers missed opportunities at the line to open an 18-13 lead.

In the second session, Buckeye tried to bounce back late in the frame, but was unable to catch up to the Wildcats and trailed 29-22 at the intermission.

Buckeye started to claw its way back in the third frame, eventually knotting the score at 31 with seven points coming from Jake Mayle and a bucket from Cameron Grabits. As the third panell moved on, the Wildcats relied on McBane and Andrew Push to elevate Edison back in front with a 16-6 run that closed out the third at 45-37.

Edison opened the final segment with a bucket from McBane and pair at the line by Woods and another by Logan Hanchin before the Panthers mounted their comeback.

Buckeye would trail by 56-44 and 60-50 before the Panthers exploded in a 30-point quarter. Despite losing three players with their fifth personal in the fourth, the Panthers saw the quintet of Hayden Taylor, Jacob Pielech, Mayle, Grabits and Luke Darrah take charge on the offensive end combining for all 30 points. Defensively, the Panthers played a part in eight Edison turnovers and nine missed shots.

“What it comes down to,” the Wildcats coach. “They were mentally stronger than us in the last four minutes of game. They wanted the ball more than we did in the last four minutes of the game and they brought Taylor in late in the game and he made some big shots.”

“It’s a mental thing. It has nothing to do with physicality. It’s mental knowing what needs to be done in the end,” Moses added.

Five Panthers scored in twin figures with Mayle leading the way with 16, Grabits and Pielech following with 12 each and Luke Darrah and adding 11 and Taylor with 10.

McBane closed with 29 that included a 17 for 22 effort at the line. Push closed with 14 and Woods had 12.

Buckeye prevailed in the jayvee contest, 49-37.

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