Indian Creek stuns St. Clairsville with fourth-quarter outburst, captures Div. II sectional title

MAKING PLAYS — Indian Creek’s Wyatt Pugh dribbles against St. Clairsville in a Div. II sectional final on Saturday. (Photo by Seth Staskey)

ST. CLAIRSVILLE — A little less than two weeks ago, St. Clairsville and Indian Creek clashed in the regular-season finale. The two schools scheduled that game to help alleviate the lengthy break between the OVAC tournament and the start of the Division II sectional.

It just so happened that the pair matched up in the tournament, meaning each school did not have to look too far back to find its most recent scouting report.

Unlike the prior two meetings, Indian Creek was able to find a way. Despite trailing for the bulk of the game, the Redskins turned up the defensive heat in the fourth, holding St. Clairsville scoreless for the opening 7:38 and posted a hard-earned 51-48 victory before less-than-capacity crowd inside St. Clairsille High School Saturday night.

“Each time us and St. Clairsville play, it’s a great game, and (Saturday) was no different,” Indian Creek head coach Joe Dunlevy said. “Our kids have been playing hard all year. But, for us, it’s a matter of taking care of the ball, and we turned it over far too many times against them the first two teams and they beat us. I thought we did a better job this time.”

There were a few stretches when the Redskins were victimized by turnovers, especially in the opening half when the Red Devils shot out to gain control and lead by five at half and seven after three.

In the fourth, however, the Redskins not only took care of the ball, but they also turned up the defensive heat. They limited St. Clairsville to one point until there were just 22 seconds to play in the game.

In the meantime, the Redskins embarked on a 10-0 run to take its first lead of the game.

With St. Clairsville taking some ill-advised shots and many not coming close to going in, the Redskins played within themselves and converted some chances.

“We had some kids get good looks because other guys saw them open,” Dunlevy said. “We were able to score off those chances, too. We feel fortunate to be moving on and look forward to the next one.”

Speaking of the next one, it won’t be easy. The Redskins return to the tournament trail Wednesday at a site to be determined against Zanesville, which dispatched East Liverpool.

St. Clairsville, meanwhile, finishes its season with a 12-11 record.

“Give Creek all of the credit,” St. C. head coach Kim Clifford said. “They played good defense, were patient on offense and made shots. We took some bad shots, and it came back to bite us.”

The Redskins were led in the scoring column by Nicholas Crawford’s 14. Austin Yaich added nine and Derrick Eakle finished with eight.

St. Clairsville was paced by Kaden Blomquist’s 19. Junior Craig Bober closed with 11, and Justin Heatherington added nine.

Indian Creek 51, St. Clairsville 48

Indian Creek 11-13-15-12 — 51

St. Clairsville 15-14-17-2 — 48

INDIAN CREEK: Allan 2, 0-0 4; Norris 1, 0-0 2; Eakle 3, 2-2 8; Yaich 4, 1-3 9; Judson 1, 0-0 2; Crawford 4, 2-2 14; Robinson 1, 0-0 2; Pugh 1, 1-2 3; Waggoner 3, 0-1 6. TOTALS: 20, 6-10: 51.

ST. CLAIRSVILLE: Busby 2, 0-0 6; Bober 3, 5-7 11; Starks 1, 3-4 5; Vike 0, 0-0 0; Blomquist 6, 4-5 19; Heatherington 2, 3-4 7; Butkus 0, 0-0 0. TOTALS: 14, 15-20 48.

3-POINT GOALS: Indian Creek: Crawford (4). St. Clairsville: Butkus (2), Blomquist (3).