WINTERSVILLE - Big Red showed Wednesday why a solid finish generally trumps a quick start.
Mike Haney's club spotted homestanding Indian Creek a 7-0 lead then came storming back to register a 57-37 victory. The win was Big Red's sixth in eight outings while Joe Dunlevy's Redskins fall to 3-6.
Johnny Haught's conventional three-point play along with two Cody Durbin free throws and a Johnathan Woodbury put-back gave Creek its early advantage. The Redskins drained four of their first six field goal tries and held a 12-9 lead late in the opening period thanks to a nifty up-and-under move by Haught and a charity stripe make from Andrew Anderson.
ON THE OFFENSIVE — Big Red’s Brandon Herring-Hill controls the ball during Wednesday's game.
-- Matthew Peaslee
Big Red drew even on a Khaliq Bougard triple as the opening stanza came to a close. The visitors then took the lead for good via a 6-0 spurt to start the second. Brandon Herring-Hill, Adam Sterling and Devin Smith accounted for the Steubenville points. A Herring-Hill hoop in transition made it 22-16 Big Red at the break.
"No doubt, it was a very slow start," Haney stated. "It seemed like we were a step behind on everything. Indian Creek is fundamentally sound. They worked the ball, got a bunch of layups and back door cuts on us.
"We talked about their offensive attack. We just weren't ready to start."
Woodbury went one for two from the line then assisted on a Durbin bucket to help Creek pull within three (22-19) early in the third. Chris Smith started a decisive Big Red run with a flip from the lane. Herring-Hill swished a couple of freebies and Chris Smith scored again off a nifty Lucas Herrington (he finished with a half dozen assists) pass.
A long-range Sterling triple put the Red up by 10 (31-21). Chris Smith got three the old fashion way as the advantage moved to 13. Sterling capped a 14-5 Big Red spurt by scoring in transition off another Herrington assist. Haney's squad led 40-23 heading into the final eight minutes.
After surrendering 12 first-quarter points, Big Red allowed just 11 during the next two frames.
"We started moving our feet better defensively," Haney noted. "I called time out with 6:20 left in the first quarter and they had seven points in a minute and 40 seconds. Our defensive rotations were slow and we were just not on the same page.
"We got it going defensively and in the third quarter our press caused some turnovers. Offensively, early on, we were settling for too many outside shots and we weren't getting good looks. We weren't putting pressure on them defensively. Then we started pushing the ball to the bucket and we were making layups."
Big Red's defensive pressure forced Creek to commit 22 turnovers.
"I told the kids after the game I have no complaints with how hard they played," Creek's Dunlevy commented. "The problem is we have to score more than 37 points. We are trying to get there offensively. It's going to come, we know what's wrong.
"Give Big Red credit, they are a good team. They took us out of some things we wanted to do offensively and we didn't capitalize when they made some mistakes defensively. I'm proud of the effort. If I get that kind of effort the rest of the year, we are going to be OK, once we start scoring. We'll get there. We'll work hard in practice and we have enough games in the next two weeks."
Herring-Hill took game scoring honors with 17. Sterling added 16, 14 coming in the second half. Chris Smith contributed nine (he scored seven in the third period). Big Red hauled down 37 rebounds compared to 32 for Creek. Sterling grabbed seven and rejected four shots.
Woodbury paced the Redskins with nine and Durbin added eight. He also was credited with 10 rebounds.
Both teams are back in action Friday. Big Red hosts Brooke and Creek entertains Martins Ferry.
Big Red 57, Indian Creek 37
Big Red 12 10 18 17 - 57
Indian Creek 12 4 7 14 - 37
BIG RED (6-2): Wallace Jones 0 0-0 0; Herring-Hill 5 6-6 17; Wolfe 0 0-0 0; Collaros 1 0-0 3; Herrington 0 0-0 0; Bougard 3 0-0 7; Sterling 7 0-0 16; D. Smith 2 1-1 5; C. Smith 4 1-1 9; Thomas-Miller 0 0-0 0; Blue 0 0-0 0; Williams 0 0-0 0. TOTALS: 22 8-9 57. 3-pointers: Sterling 2; Herring-Hill; Bougard; Collaros. Rebounds 37 (Sterling 7; D. Smith 6); Turnovers 7.
CREEK (3-6): Foldi 2 0-0 4; Roar 1 0-2 2; Haught 2 1-2 5; Durbin 1 6-8 8; Woodbury 4 1-3 9; Huynh 0 0-0 0; Anderson 0 5-6 5; Wade 2 0-0 4; Greco 0 0-0 0; Coppa 0 0-0 0; Starkey 0 0-2 0. TOTALS: 12 13-23 37. 3-pointers: none. Rebounds: 32 (Durbin 10; Woodbury 7); Turnovers: 23.