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Buckeye Local stops late Edison surge, holds on for the win

RICHMOND — The Buckeye Local girls basketball team reached the peak of the mountain, but Edison was unable to get over the final hump.

The Panthers showcased their ability to go on runs throughout the game as they led by double digits in the fourth quarter. The Wildcats battled back and pulled within five points, but they were unable to draw any closer in the last couple of minutes as Buckeye Local held on for a 58-53 victory Monday night on the road.

“We have a young team,” Buckeye Local (1-1) head coach Tom Figurski said. “We are learning. We are growing. I liked our effort all night. Edison made a little run at us earlier in the game, but each time they made a run we were able to battle back and build the lead back up. One of the things we have to learn is when you are playing with the lead you don’t have to foul. That is something we will go back and work on at practice. Also, our free-throw shooting wasn’t very good.”

After falling behind by double digits for the second time in the second quarter, the Wildcats spent the rest of the night scratching and clawing their way back into the game, but Edison was unable to clear the final hurdle and come away with the victory.

“We struggled offensively again,” first-year Edison (0-4) head coach John Visser said. “The main thing right now is we are playing hard. We leave it all out on the court. If we continue to do that, good things are going to happen. We took a step forward tonight.”

The Panthers led 52-39 entering the fourth quarter. At one point, the Wildcats were able to get their deficit down to single digits only to see the visitors get it right back into double digits; however, Edison was determined not to go away quietly into the night and the hosts made one last push to try and rally for the victory. A late spurt pulled the hosts to within 58-53 with a couple of minutes left, but neither team scored the remainder of the game.

“We could not get over the hump,” Visser said. “We battled. That is the thing with winning. We don’t know how to win. In order to win, first you have to get close, and then you have to do it. I thought tonight we were going to be able to do it.”

Two players scored in double digits for both teams.

For Buckeye Local, Landyn Walker collected a team-high 15 points, while Demetria Christian netted 11.

For Edison, Savanna Ankrom contributed a team-high 15 points, while Alysea Fiedorczyk finished with 13.

After Edison tied the score at 6-6, Buckeye Local tallied the last six points of the first quarter to take a 12-6 lead heading into the second.

The victors scored the first four points of the second to extend their run to 10-0 and built a 16-6 lead. The wildcats were down, but they were not out. Edison fought back and pulled to within 24-21 on a basket by Fiedorczyk, but the Panthers ended the half on a 12-3 spurt to take a 36-24 lead into the locker room at halftime.

Two free throws by Christian gave Buckeye Local a 40-24 lead early in the third, but Edison managed to hang around as the Panthers led by 13 entering the fourth.

The coaches knew what to expect coming into the game.

“He was at Harrison Central,” Figurski said about Visser. “We saw the passion he had at Harrison Central when he was coaching the JV team. We saw Edison play Indian Creek, and we knew they were going to be ready for us. It was really physical. Every time they came back, we were able to build the lead back up. I thought we played really well defensively.”

Little things make a big difference in close games, and Buckeye Local was able to do more of the little things needed to pull out the victory.

“They didn’t do anything we did not expect,” Visser said. “It was just a matter of execution, getting loose balls and getting rebounds.”

Buckeye Local outrebounded Edison, 51-46. Ten players had at least five rebounds in the game. Walker led the Panthers with 10 rebounds, while Megan Valuska grabbed nine rebounds.

Ankrom led the Wildcats with 11 rebounds, Alayna Meadows and Olivia Huff each finished with 10, while Mikayla Petrisko produced eight.

Close games are often decided at the foul line, and both teams struggled from the charity stripe as both teams shot below 50 percent from the line. Buckeye Local made 12 of 25 shots from the free-throw line, while Edison ended up going 21 of 49 from the line.

The teams combined to commit 53 fouls on the night.

“We have a young team, and there is going to be some give and take,” Figurski said. “Against Steubenville, we had 31 turnovers. Tonight, there were 53 fouls. I would say 95 percent of those were warranted. When you come to Edison, you know Edison is going to play physical. I heard there is a little bit of a rivalry between Buckeye Local and Edison, and I would say that that is probably true. We look forward to playing each other. We are going to get their best, and they are going to get our best.”

The Wildcats don’t mind the physical contact.

“We want to play physical. That is going to happen,” Visser said about the number of fouls in the game.

The Panthers committed 23 turnovers on the night, while the Wildcats committed 22.

Both teams are scheduled to play Thursday. Buckeye Local will play Buckeye 8 North Division rival East Liverpool at home.

“I heard East Liverpool is much improved as well,” Figurski said.

Meanwhile, Edison will play at Jefferson County rival Toronto.

The JV game between the Red Knights and the Wildcats will be two quarters long with the varsity game to follow. Edison will cap its three-game week by playing Southern Local Saturday at home.

“If you win games, you don’t mind it,” Visser said about playing three games in a week. “You play to get better, and we are playing.”

Buckeye Local won the JV game, 37-23. Kalia Hundley delivered a game-high 20 points to lead the way for the Panthers, while Olivia Fankhauser recorded eight points to lead the way for the Wildcats.

Buckeye Local 58, Edison 53

Buckeye Local 12 24-16-6 — 58

Edison 6-18-15-14 — 53

BUCKEYE LOCAL (1-1): Christian 2 7-12 11; Walker 6 3-6 15; Blazeski 1 2-2 4; Roski 2 0-0 4; Crain 0 0-0 0; M. Valuska 3 0-0 6; George 3 0-2 6; Dockery 2 0-0 4; Withers 1 0-2 2; E. Valuska 0 0-0 0; Pelky 0 0-0 0; Trekal 3 0-1 6. TOTALS: 23 12-25 58.

EDISON (0-4): Johnson 0 0-0 0; Petrisko 1 2-5 4; Fiedorczyk 5 1-2 13; Ankrom 3 9-12 15; Fankhauser 0 0-0 0; Meadows 1 3-18 5; Grafton 1 1-2 3; Fox 1 1-4 3; Huff 3 2-4 8; Scott 0 2-2 2. TOTALS: 15 21-49 53.

3-POINT GOALS: Buckeye Local none; Edison 2 (Fiedorczyk).

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