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Redskins stay perfect, defeat Buckeye 8 foe Panthers, 71-16

DEEP IN THE CORNER — Indian Creek’s Hailey Clark attempts a 3-pointer against Buckeye Local on Thursday. -Andrew Grimm

WINTERSVILLE — Despite an undefeated record and being up to the task against every challenge it has faced so far, the Indian Creek girls basketball team is still working to improve.

Thursday night, the Redskins implemented some different defensive looks, as the focus on perfecting their game continued with a 71-16 victory over Buckeye Local.

“We came out with a lot of intensity,” Indian Creek head coach Steve Eft said. “We put some new things in, full court man. We wanted to work on some things. We’re still working to get better.

“They’re a real tight group that loves to play together. They are a special group of girls. I’m really proud of the way they’ve been playing and how they come out every night ready to go.”

The Redskins forced the Panthers into 27 turnovers, many resulting into Indian Creek points, while limiting their own miscues to 10 (half of those coming in the fourth quarter when the game already was decided).

The win moves the Buckeye 8 North champions to 14-0 on the season, but Eft knows his team has a lot left in front of it in the second half of the season.

“We haven’t accomplished any of our goals yet — they are all still in front of us,” he said. “Our main goal at the beginning of the year was to be playing our best basketball going into tournament time, so we’re still striving for that. We’re still working on things and trying to perfect things so hopefully our best basketball is still to come.”

On the flip side of things, that defensive pressure was simply too much for a young Panthers (3-12) squad to handle.

“They are aggressive,” Buckeye Local head coach Tom Figurski said of Indian Creek. “They are about two years ahead of where we want to be in about a year. We’re growing. We have spurts where we play really well, and we have spurts where a team like that just takes you out of what you’re trying to do with their defense. We didn’t match their aggressiveness.”

Figurski added that his young girls can learn from the experience they continue to gain against good teams.

“I’m playing 14 or 15 girls a night,” he said. “They are seeing a lot of good teams around here. (Assistant coach) Charlie (Nest) and I have talked about it. The thing is we’ve only lost to one team that doesn’t have a winning record. A lot of these younger girls are getting to see what it’s all about.

“It’s going to be fun to see what happens next week when the two undefeated teams (Indian Creek and Union Local) play (for the Buckeye 8 title on Jan. 25 at Buckeye Local). That should be a game no one should miss.”

From the opening tip on, it was all Indian Creek, as it scored the first 21 points to open the game and led by 19 after the opening quarter.

“The girls came out with a lot of energy, which is always good to see,” Eft said.

Kylie Kiger and Hailey Clark made back-to-back triples when it was 4-0 to quickly make it a double-digit lead and prompt a timeout from Figurski.

It was unsuccessful in slowing the Redskins down, however, as Kiger later drained another 3-pointer to push the lead to 16 and prompt another timeout. She finished with 12 points, five rebounds and three assists.

“We’re working well together as a team,” Kiger said. “We’re having a lot of fun together as a group. We’re all really close, so it helps the team a lot.”

The second quarter was much of the same, as Indian Creek scored 20 points before a last-second 3-pointer by Buckeye Local’s Megan Valuska made it 41-6 at the break.

The Redskins scored the first 11 points of the second half and again topped 20 points in the third quarter, pushing the lead to 62-8 at the.

With the reserves in, the Panthers matched their output in the first three quarters in the fourth.

Taylor Jones led the way for Indian Creek with 17 points, eight boards and three assists, all team-highs. She also went 9 of 9 from the line. As a team, the Redskins were 16 of 22.

“She is having some big games for us,” Eft said of Jones. “She had worked really hard on her free throws. Overall, we have really improved as a team from the line. We spent a lot of time working on free throws. Last year it cost us some games, so it was a point of focus in the offseason.”

Eight of nine girls to see the floor scored for Eft, as Ally Tweedy finished with 13 points, while Kiger and Clark closed with 12 points each.

“We have a real nice rotation, just about everyone got in the scoring column,” Eft said. “We usually have four or five girls in double figures. We usually have balanced scoring, which is a benefit for us because it makes us tougher to guard.”

For the Panthers, who played 15 girls, Brooke Roski led with four points. Megan and Emily Valuska each had three points, while Mariah Pelkey made a pair of free throws.

GAME NOTE

In the jayvee game, Indian Creek claimed a 47-24 win. The Redskins were led by Shilea Smith with 17 points, while Rylee Glover finished with five points for the Panthers.

UP NEXT

Buckeye Local: Hosts Bridgeport on Wednesday.

Indian Creek: Travels to Brooke on Monday.

(Grimm can be reached at agrimm@heraldstaronline.com)

Indian Creek 71, Buckeye Local 16

Buckeye Local 2-4-2-8 — 16

Indian Creek 21-20-21-9 — 71

BUCKEYE LOCAL (3-12): Christian 0 0-2 0; Roski 2 0-0 4; Walker 0 0-0 0; Crain 0 1-2 1; M. Valuska 1 0-0 3; Gray 0 0-0 0; George 0 0-0 0; Dockery 0 0-0 0; Withers 0 0-0 0; E. Valuska 1 1-2 3; Pelkey 0 2-2 2; Trekal 0 0-0 0; Glover 0 0-0 0; Hundley 1 1-2 3. TOTALS: 5, 5-12: 16.

INDIAN CREEK (14-0): Lewis 1 0-0 2; Kiger 5 2-2 12; Tweedy 6 0-0 13; Ratkovek 2 0-1 4; Taylor 3 2-4 8; Starkey 0 0-0 0; Copeland 1 1-2 3; Clark 5 2-4 12; Jones 4 9-9 17. TOTALS: 27, 16-22: 71.

3-POINT GOALS: Buckeye Local 1 (M. Valuska); Indian Creek 7 (Kiger 3, Clark 3, Tweedy). ASSISTS: Buckeye Local 4 (Christian 2); Indian Creek 18 (Lewis 3, Kiger 3, Tweedy 3, Jones 3). REBOUNDS: Buckeye Local 18 (M. Valuska 7); Indian Creek 33 (Jones 8). TURNOVERS: Buckeye Local 27; Indian Creek 10.

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