Big games highlight week in Buckeye 8 Conference


Buckeye 8 Conference Basketball
The 2007-2008 Buckeye 8 boy’s basketball card is winding down, but huge
encounters still loom. Indian Creek at St. Clairsville is the showcase
game for Tuesday night. The only other game in conference features
Union Local traveling to Richmond Edison to square off against the

The 2007-2008 Buckeye 8 boy’s basketball card is winding down, but huge encounters still loom. Indian Creek at St. Clairsville is the showcase game for Tuesday night. The only other game in conference features Union Local traveling to Richmond Edison to square off against the Wildcats.

Buckeye Local will be visiting Steubenville to take on Big Red, while Bellaire will also trek to Jefferson County to play Steubenville Central.

Martins Ferry is the lone Buckeye 8 outfit in action on Wednesday as they go across the river to battle with Linsly (WV). The Riders and Cadets hooked up in a classic just a little over a week ago in a thrilling 71-69 overtime Ferry victory to open up the Purple’s new gymnasium.

Indian Creek (8-6) @ St. Clairsville (11-2)
The Red Devils come into Tuesday night’s showdown as the only unbeaten team in conference play at (10-0), while the Redskins are (7-5) but coming off a huge (71-53) triumph of Edison this past Friday.

St. Clairsville earned two victories this past weekend by defeating rival Union Local in a thrilling 61-59 contest in front of an electric atmosphere and then taking down Buckeye Local 79-59 on Saturday evening.

Senior Anthony Vincent went off the bounce to his left shooting a pull-up trey that went through the net with about 1.9 seconds remaining on the game clock. Union Local proceeded to inbound the ball, but it was knocked away by Michael Bigelow as time expired bringing an end to an incredible basketball contest. Vincent finished the game with 20 points including 10-of-11 from the charity stripe and knocking down two triples before being hoisted above the “St.C. Crazies” at mid court following the epic ending. Sophomore Daniel Slavik ended his productive night with 12 points all on bonus baskets and senior Dustin Hynes added 10 points. The Devils also got huge lift off the bench from senior big man Anthony Skrabak who contributed eight points and was a bear on the boards.

On Saturday night, it was Hynes (12.1 ppg.) leading the way with 14 points followed by Vincent (12.6 ppg.) and junior Ryan Jarvie evenly splitting 22 counters. Slavik added 10 markers including another three bonus bombs.

The Creek, on the home boards, overmatched a short-handed Edison squad. The Redskins scored a big win over the then second place Wildcats. However, Edison was without the services of senior guard Loren Mynes for undisclosed reasons.  In the Redskins seniors last game at home head coach Joe Dunlevy’s bunch received 19 points from the smooth senior Mike Smith and 17 lightings from ever improving senior big man Jim Wood. Junior Luke Viltro tossed in 14 markers as well.

The Goods:
The first encounter between these two teams went down to the wire with St Clairsville stealing a 63-60 victory in the Devils opener. Dustin Hynes scored 26 points to lead the way. Both teams are much improved and this should be another physical game that isn’t decided until late in the fourth quarter. The advantage is certainly with the Red Devils playing in a gym where the Red and Grey are 38-7 in its last 45 contests. IC will have to put a great emphasis on taking care of the basketball or else this could be a double figure win for the Devils. With that being said, look for the Skins to handle the Devils pressure a lot better this time around. If Creek can get this into a half court encounter the Redskins have an excellent chance of winning this basketball game. Smith (15.2 ppg.) and Wood (15.4 ppg.) provide match up problems for the Red Devils in a half court setting.

 The Belmont Count seat won’t do anything different, as it’s what you see is what you get. The Devils will pressure and look to make threes, convert backdoor lay ups and score in transition. Half court game less than 60 look for Creek to win. If it’s a wild and crazy game of spurts that reaches the 60’s coach Kim Clifford’s crew will come out on top.

Union Local (7-7) @ Edison (10-3)
The Jets will trek to Richmond to lock up with the Wildcats in what is almost certain to be an entertaining affair. The Jets dropped to (4-6) in the league with the loss to St. Clairsville, while Edison fell to (7-3) with the setback to Creek.

Union Local suffered through a week of ups and downs. The Red and White were throttled by St. Clairsville on Saturday night before playing very well but losing on Tuesday to a talented Shadyside squad. Both of those games were played without second leading scorer junior Joby Barr. Friday night was probably the best effort UL gave all season, but once again coming up short in the aforementioned thriller to the Red Devils. Just when it seemed as if UL was on the brink of victory, the Red Devils stole the show and the win.

Senior Zach Azallion continued to say hot scoring a team-high 19 points. Barr returned in a big way with 17 points while leading scorer junior Jordan Barbina was held to 13 markers. Junior post Kyle Blackman added eight counters.

Meanwhile Edison took one on the chin to rival Indian Creek, but as mentioned earlier the Cats played without senior guard Loren Mynes (11.5 ppg.). Cory Wickham led the Wildcats with 17 points, while junior Cale McCoy notched 12 markers but leading scorer senior Bryson Anderson was held to only 10 counters.

The Goods:
The first meeting between these two offensive minded outfits was entertaining, but it was Edison’s guards who stole the show in a 59-47 Wildcat victory. Wickham (11.5) and Mynes were scorching the nets all night for head coach Todd English’s bunch. Time after time the two hit big shots off the bounce and with the puppies set. Wickham was even battling foul trouble the majority of game, which kept him from having an even greater impact. The dynamic duo finished with 41 points combine (Wickham 21 and Mynes 20) with the latter knocking down four triples. However, UL did hold Anderson (18 ppg.) to just six points.

Union Local got a usual good night from Barbina (20.4 ppg.) with 21 lightings and eight boards as the Jets got off to a fast start, but quickly cooled off. Barr (17.9 ppg.) dropped in 11 markers as his top support.

This meeting could be differet for a handful of reasons. First, the absence of Mynes is certainly effecting the Cats. His status is unknown. Second, UL seems to have picked up its intensity on the defensive end of the floor especially in the game at St. Clairsville. The Red and White were lackluster on the defense in the first meeting with Edison. Next, Zach Azallion (10.7) is a totally different player at this point of the season as he is really starting to emerge as a scorer. Azallion missed his entire junior campaign. The athletic Azallion has the best stroke on the team, and it has showed over the last three games by connecting on 11 balls from distance and averaging 19.3 points per game in those three. Furthermore, Barbina notched his career high at Edison as sophomore pouring in 32 points to lead UL to victory.

If Union Local continues to get the job done on the defensive end of the floor this becomes an extremely dangerous round ball unit. The offense is usually there, but the defense lacked. As always, the Jets go as Blackman (7.5 ppg.) goes. If the 6-foot-4 junior reaches double figures in the scoring column and on the boards it will be a win for the Morristown-based school.

The rest of the card:

Buckeye Local (2-12) @ Steubenville (5-8)
The Panthers are spiraling downwards after a promising start to the year. A three-win Oak Glen (WV) squad (67-35) drilled Buckeye on Friday then the Panthers were hammered by St. Clairsville on Saturday. Coach Joel Nau missed Saturday night’s game, and hopefully he returns soon. Nau is a great basketball mind and an excellent person, and I hope he gets well soon.

Steubenville’s Detroy Smith (21 ppg.) is currently sitting on 917 points for his fine career at Big Red.

Bellaire (4-10) @ Steubenville Central (7-6)
The Big Reds head to Jefferson County to take on a red-hot Crusaders outfit. Look for the Big Reds to struggle on the road after a weekend loss to Wheeling Park (WV). Bellaire is playing a ton of young kids, and one just never knows what their mindset will be come game time. The Crusaders have a veteran ball club that is gelling extremely well right now.

Luke Nicholson led the way with a team-high 21 points and 11 rebounds in a win over city rival Steubenville (84-77) this past Friday. It was the Crusaders first win over Big Red since 2004 (eight games). Mark Gilloon added 18 points and 10 rebounds and Ryan Houk had 15 points and five rebounds. Brian DeFranco notched 14 points and Chris Gale tossed in 13 points.

Nicholson and Gilloon are well kept secrets and the Crusaders are certainly a dangerous basketball team.

Wednesday night’s action:

Martins Ferry (9-4) @ Linsly (WV)
The Riders and Cadets hooked up in a thrilling overtime game back on January 12, but the rematch will be hard pressed to live up to the first meeting. The Purple is playing very well right now, and has become the team most expected at the beginning of the year. Look for Ferry to win this game by around eight to 10 points. Linsly is very talented, but the Riders are just playing too well right now and have the number two seed on their mind for the Division III Claymont Sectional.

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