Indian Creek stops Big Red with tremendous defense

DRIVING BY — Indian Creek’s Kylie Kiger dribbles past Steubenville’s Sarah Brown on Thursday. (Photo by Joe Catullo)

WINTERSVILLE — Kylie Kiger and Haylie Scott combined for 27 points Thursday as Indian Creek, the OVAC Class 5A leader, rolled to a 41-29 victory over Big Red.

Kiger, a smooth-shooting freshman, paced the now 10-1 Redskins with a game-high 15 points. Scott, a junior, knocked down a career high 12 markers and accounted for Creek’s only connection from behind the arc.

Jackie Rossi’s club, playing its second game in as many nights (Creek earned a 50-47 road win at Beaver Local Wednesday), forced seven Big Red turnovers in jumping out to a 12-2 lead after the opening eight minutes.

Steubenville’s Madison Fields got the scoring started with a strong move inside before the Redskins rattled off the next 12 points. Kiger started the run with a jumper and finished it with an old-fashioned 3-point play and another deuce from the lane.

“You figure last year we only won nine games, so getting to 10 victories is a huge accomplishment for us,” Rossi said. “We beat Beaver Local Wednesday, and that win puts us in first place in the Buckeye 8 North. Those are two huge accomplishments given where we were last year at this time.

“I’m glad we played Wednesday since we didn’t play for two weeks with all the cancellations. I don’t mind going back to back. We are fairly deep. Mackenzie Orban being out tonight with pneumonia hurt us a little, and we had to change our game plan slightly. Fortunately, we had other kids step up and it worked out.”

Big Red (5-6) outscored the Redskins 7-5 in the second quarter to trail 17-9 at the break. Post players Makayla Abram and Fields accounted for all of the points.

After falling behind 22-9 early in the third (Kiger drained a pair of free throws to increase the Creek advantage), Jeff Lombardo’s crew got to within eight when Seana Ragusa knocked down a triple off a nice feed from Abram.

Scott then scored five straight as the Redskins closed with a 9-0 run. Ashley Yaich and Kiger accounted for the other four markers.

“Haylie really picked it up for us tonight,” Rossi said. “Kylie has been pretty solid for us offensively all season. Taylor (Jones) struggled with foul trouble (the talented freshman managed just two points) and she’s been one of our leaders in scoring. It was good to see other kids pick up the slack.

“We went at Big Red and were able to get to the line. Yaich did a couple of nice things offensively as did (Ally) Tweedy. Overall, we did what we normally do offensively and that’s attack.”

Yaich finished with seven points and a team-high six rebounds for Creek, which used its relentless defensive pressure to force 21 Big Red turnovers.

“We were a little careless with the ball at the end but when you hold a team to 29 points, you got to win the game,” Rossi said. “When you see that I had to believe we were going to win the game.

“Give Big Red credit. They had a size advantage and with Taylor being in foul trouble, they really had a size advantage and I thought their bigs did a nice job.”

Abram, just a freshman, paced Steubenville with 10 points. Fields, a sophomore, netted eight. Abram and senior Sarah Brown hauled down six rebounds each.

“I felt like we were prepared to handle their pressure,” Lombardo said. “We worked on that in practice. I’ll take responsibility for us not being fully ready. I scouted them and watched them on film, but it’s different when you get into the game. They are very, very good defensively, and that’s one reason why they are 10-1.

“Their defensive pressure was a little shock to our girls. We did somethings we normally don’t do with the basketball. I think it was a combination of being amped up for the game and just not taking care of the ball. Plus, scoring just two points in the first quarter really put us in a hole early.”

Big Red did get its offense going in the final quarter, outscoring the Redskins 13-8.

“I was very happy with the way our girls continued to compete,” Lombardo said. “They extended the lead in the third quarter and our girls didn’t quit. We’re struggling a little with depth right now and we had some girls playing who were really sick and those things showed. With a couple of made baskets here and there in the fourth quarter, we had a chance to make it a close game. We also missed some free throws. Those are things that over the course of the last three weeks we had been doing. Tonight, it didn’t happen.

“Creek is very well-coached and they get after it. It’s good for us to play in the regular season. They have a really good nucleus and a young team, so this game should be a good one for the next couple of years.”

Creek is idle until next Thursday when it entertains Catholic Central. Big Red is scheduled to host Buckeye Local Saturday, weather permitting.

“We’re halfway through our regular season and I told the girls all of our goals are still attainable,” Lombardo said. “We still have an opportunity to finish in the top four of the OVAC. Our season is a long way from being over.

“I’m happy with the way we are getting after it in practice. I told them not to hang their heads, it’s OK to be upset with the loss but they have to be ready to go back to work tomorrow.”

Game notes:

¯ Three players reached double figures as Indian Creek rolled to a 49-18 victory in the junior varsity contest. MacKenzie Taylor led the Redskins with 14, while Abby Copeland and Haley Clark netted 11 each. For Big Red, Mary Marshall, Abrielle Crossland and Myla Gulan scored four apiece.

Indian Creek 41, Steubenville 29

Big Red 2-7-7-13 — 29

Creek 12-5-16-8 — 41

BIG RED (5-6): Ragusa 2 0-0 5; Taylor 0 0-0 0; Brown 1 0-0 2; Crownover 0 0-0 0; Marshall 0 0-0 0; Minniefield 1 0-0 2; Fields 2 4-6 8; Ferguson 1 0-1 2; Crossland 0 0-0 0; Gulan 0 0-0 0; Abram 4 2-5 10. TOTALS 11 6-11 29.

INDIAN CREEK (10-1): Cooper 1 0-0 2; Kiger 5 5-5 15; Tweedy 1 1-2 3; Parrish 0 0-0 0; Taylor 0 0-0 0; Yaich 3 1-2 7; Scott 4 3-3 12; Vandeborne 0 0-0 0; Jones 1 0-0 2; Scott 0 0-0 0. TOTALS: 15 10-12 41.

3-POINT GOALS: Big Red (Ragusa); Indian Creek (Scott); REBOUNDS: Big Red 21 (Abram, Brown 6 each); Indian Creek 25 (Yaich 6); TURNOVERS: Big Red 21; Indian Creek 15.