STEUBENVILLE - For Joe Dunlevy, Tuesday's first regular-season meeting between his Indian Creek basketball squad and Big Red was, in a word, "fun."
"It's fun when people come to watch," he said following the contest played before a full house at the Crimson Center. "Michael (Haney) does a great job with his program and we work real hard. It was fun. Both teams played hard, the coaches were coaching like crazy and the fans were really into it. You can't ask for anything better than that."
The Redskins made Dunlevy's evening a little more enjoyable by outscoring Haney's club 22-11 during the final frame to earn a 43-40 victory in the mutual season opener.
STRONG TO THE HOOP — Indian Creek’s Alex Young drives to the basket against Big Red’s Chris Smith during the Redskins’ 43-40 victory over Big Red at the Crimson Center Tuesday. Young scored 11 of his game-high 17 points in the final quarter.
-- Fred Younce
Frank Kamarec kissed one off the glass to close the third period and cut Big Red's advantage to 29-21. Creek started the fourth on a 9-0 run, sparked by the play of Alex Young. The 6-2 senior accounted for six of the points. The other three came when Kamarec buried a triple from deep in the corner. When Young swished two free throws, the Redskins had a 30-29 lead.
Big Red then scored five straight, Tajuan Lawson nailing a jumper and Mylik Young recorded a conventional three point play. His basket from in close came off a nifty assist from Chris Smith.
The Redskins answered with another 9-0 burst to seal the deal. A. Young got a put back after skying for an offensive rebound. Drew Sullivan scored after a nifty drive to the hoop and followed with a free toss. A. Young swished two from the charity stripe and Blake Roar followed suit, putting Dunlevy's cagers ahead 39-34.
"I was thinking when they had the lead after we made the run and they responded, even if we lose this was a great game," Dunlevy noted. "We played eight kids and five of them are seniors. We have some veterans and they responded at the end."
Big Red had a few runs of its own to grab the halftime lead. Periogn West went coast to coast after a rebound to score then set Lawson up with a nifty pass for another basket. Dashon Redman finished the 6-0 streak by converting two free tosses.
The hosts extended their advantage to 11 (27-18) early in the third when Mylik Young scored off an offensive rebound.
Creek was led in scoring by Alex Young, who finished with a game-high 17. He scored six in the opening period then went scoreless until the fourth. Kamarec added 10. The Redskins hoisted 33 field goal attempts, connecting on 13.
"Sometimes are kids are actually too unselfish," Dunlevy pointed out. "Every once in a while, players like him (Young) and Kamarec have to take over. He's a pretty good player and the sooner he realizes that the better we're going to be.
"Drew (Sullivan) did a nice job when he was in there. I'm happy for him; it's his last year so he needs to see what he can do. He made a nice move on the baseline and hit a free throw. Good for him."
Of Creek's 22 fourth quarter points, half came from the line. The Redskins were 11 for 17 during the decisive eight minutes.
"We told our guys we didn't want to get into a foul shooting contest," Haney said. "During the third and fourth quarters, we put them at the line a little too much. They are good foul shooting team and their experience helped them in a close game."
Dunlevy was quick to praise Big Red for keeping his club in check for the first two and half quarters.
"Give them credit for the way they were playing defense," he noted. "They were playing hard and their speed was bothering us. We did a little better job in the second half of attacking the basket."
West led the Big Red with 11 and Lawson added nine. As a team, Big Red was 15 of 43 from the floor.
"We fought, played hard and got after it," Haney added. "We need to a play a little smarter and that will come with experience. Also, we need to do a better job with our shot selection in a close game.
"When you lose, you're never happy. I was, however, happy with our intensity."
Big Red will return to action Thursday when Buckeye Local visits the Crimson Center.
Creek was scheduled to tangle with St. Clairsville Friday but that game has been delayed due to the long playoff run by the Red Devils football team. The Redskins will return to action Dec. 11, hosting Buckeye Local.
"It's Buckeye 8 time," Dunlevy pointed out. "This game will get us ready for the league, that's for sure."
Indian Creek 43, Big Red 40
Indian Creek 10 5 6 22 - 43
Big Red 7 13 19 11 - 40
INDIAN CREEK (1-0): Kamarec 4 0-1 10; Furda 0 1-2 1; Roar 0 2-2 2; A. Young 6 5-10 17; Haught 1 0-0 2; Anderson 0 2-2 2; Durbin 0 1-2 1; Connor 0 0-0 0; Sullivan 1 1-2 3; Winland 1 3-4 5. TOTALS: 13 15-25 43. 3-pointers: Kamarec (2); Rebounds: 24 (A. Young 11); Turnovers: 15.
BIG RED (0-1): West 4 2-2 11; Linn 2 0-0 6; Herring-Hill 0 0-0 0; Lawson 4 1-3 9; M. Young 2 1-1 5; Sterling 1 0-0 2; Redman 0 2-2 2; Smith 2 0-0 5. TOTALS: 14 6-9 40. 3-pointers: West, Linn (2), Smith; Rebounds: 26 (M. Young (7); Turnovers: 19.