ZANESVILLE - Carrollton boys basketball coach Todd English chose to play its Division II Eastern District sectional opener against Indian Creek and coach Joe Dunlevy.
And, that decision paid dividends with a 51-48 victory over the Redskins Wednesday in the Eastern District sectional tournament at Zanesville High School.
"We had a couple of options and one of those was to go over to OUE and get in a bracket with Meadowbrook and Maysville," said English, in his first year with the Warriors. "We played them earlier in the year and the fact that we beat them had an impact on what we did. We had seven regular-season wins and that was one of them.
MAKE A MOVE — Indian Creek’s Cody Durbin, guarded by Carrollton’s Lane Hartong, looks to throw a pass to a cutting Blake Roar, guarded by Caleb Pasiuk, during Wednesday’s 51-48 loss to the Warriors.
-- Mike Mathison
"We knew it was going to be a ballgame tonight and the score out there was in no way reflective of their team and the talent they have. We knew it was going to be a dogfight."
English, who spent six years as head coach of the Edison boys team, chose familiarity over location as the new super sectional hit Ohio this year.
"I wasn't surprised when he picked to go against us," Dunlevy said of English's move at the sectional draw. "They beat us by 28 at their place two months before that. Actually, I told the kids after the game out there that we were hoping to get the opportunity to play them again and I hope the Carrollton people and players and coaches and Indian Creek people saw the real Indian Creek team tonight."
The Warriors held a 19-14 lead at halftime. Amidst a couple of buckets for Carrollton, Indian Creek's Johnny Haught made a traditional three-play and then Cody Durbin and Aaron Foldi each hit from behind the arc and it was 33-33 entering the final eight minutes.
"He (Dunlevy) knows what I am going to run and I know what he is going to run," said English. "Bottom line is the kids have to come down and make plays and our kids made some good plays."
Carrollton junior Caleb Pasiuk led the winners with a game-high 25 points. Daniel Leary added 14 points, including two runners in the lane for 43-41 and 47-44 leads.
"We didn't take care of the ball in the first half," said Dunlevy. "We took care of the ball in the second half and only turned it over twice (compared to eight in the first half), made shots and didn't miss a free throw.
"I told them after the game that I was proud of their effort. They played tremendous in the second half. We just had some costly turnovers in the first half and, in a game like this, which is a one possession game, it's the only I have to complain about.
"I can't complain about their effort or how hard they played.
"Carrollton, regardless of their record, is a good team - look at who they've played - and they are well coached. Todd does a great job and has always done a great job."
A Durbin putback gave the Redskins a 39-27 lead and English called a timeout with 5:08 left in the game.
"I told the kids we could not settle for threes," said English. "We had to take the ball to the basket."
Pasiuk made one free throw and Haught two for a 41-38 Creek lead. But, Pasiuk buried a bomb from the corner and it was 41-41 with 3:37 unplayed.
It was then Leary and a Tyler Krantz layup for a 45-41 lead. Foldi's long-range jumper made it 45-44 and Leary hit his second runner. A Haught layup had it 47-46, but Pasiuk answered with his own layin and English took another timeout with 38.9 seconds left and a 49-46 cushion.
The Redskins missed a three and two Warriors free throws all but clinched it with a 51-46 advantage.
"That is a really good basketball team we just beat," said English. "Any time you go against them you know they will play hard, play great defense and make shots."
Durbin led the Redskins with 16 points. Haught added 15 and Foldi nine.
They graduate seven seniors - Blake Roar, Haught, Durbin, Andrew Anderson, Jonathan Woodbury, Tran Huynh and Justin Cummings.
"As far as kids, you couldn't ask for a better four years than I've had," said Dunlevy. "We've had unbelievable players as far as young men, great students and, on top of that, great parents.
"The last four years starting with Niko Otto, then Joe Bowers class, then (Frank) Kamarec, (Alex) Young, (Matt) Furda and (Shane) Winland last year - just great people.
"We have won almost 60 games in those four years. They are great kids. You can win and have a terrible time and you can lose and be happy. But, when you do both - win and be happy - there is nothing better and that is what we have had at Indian Creek with these kids and their parents."
Carrollton 51, Indian Creek 48
Carrollton 7 12 14 18 51
Indian Creek 8 6 19 15 48
CARROLLTON (8-14): Pasiuk 9 3-4 25, Leary 6 2-2 14, Krantz 1 1-2 3, Clay 1 0-0 2, Deitz 1 0-0 2, Hartong 2 0-0 5, Leslie 0 0-0 0, Brown 0 0-0 0. TOTALS: 20 6-8 51. 3-pointers: Pasiuk 4, Hartong.
INDIAN CREEK (10-11): Durbin 5 4-4 16, Haught 6 3-3 15, Foldi 3 0-0 9, Connor 1 2-2 4, Woodbury 1 0-0 2, Huynh 0 0-0 0. TOTALS: 17 9-9 48. 3-pointers: Foldi 3, Durbin 2.