Indian Creek’s tournament run concludes in Cambridge

GETTING AROUND — Indian Creek’s Austin Yaich attempts a shot between two Zanesville defenders during a Division II divisional contest on Wednesday. -- Andrew Grimm

CAMBRIDGE — The No. 12 seed Indian Creek boys basketball team was trying to become the first non-Division I team to beat No. 3 seeded Zanesville in Wednesday night’s Division II district semifinal, but the Blue Devils’ defense was too much for coach Joe Dunlevy’s Redskins to overcome as Creek’s season ended with a 58-23 loss.

“They play great defense, they limit your shots, and they are a really good team,” Dunlevy said. “They haven’t lost to a Division II, III or IV school all year. They have a great program and great tradition.”

Zanesville (18-6), which advances to face No. 4 seed Meadowbrook — a 56-41 winners over Harrison Central Wednesday — on Saturday at Muskingum University, took control in the second half, scoring the first 16 points of the third quarter and outscoring the Redskins (12-12) 31-8 in the final 16 minutes.

“We kind of had the game the way we wanted it, but we were having trouble scoring,” Dunlevy said. “That’s a credit to them. I could not be more proud of my kids. They played as hard as they could; we just didn’t make shots.

“They blocked a lot of shots. You do all the right things, and someone swoops in and blocks your shot. You beat your guy and someone else blocks it. It’s tough scoring on them.”

After the Blue Devils opened up an 11-2 lead, Creek slowly battled back within four at the end of the first quarter, scoring the final five of the opening eight minutes.

They would not get any closer the rest of the night, however, as the Blue Devils defense took over.

Zanesville started to take command with a 10-0 scoring run in the second for a 12-point lead that the Redskins were unable to cut into, trailing 27-15 at the break.

Zanesville held the Redskins off the board in the third until there was 1:51 left. Brennon Norris made a basket while getting fouled and drained the free throw for an old-fashioned 3-point play to finally get Creek on the board in the half. That only cut the deficit to 25, though.

The Redskins went on a 7-0 run but only got back to within 20. Zanesville built on the lead all the way through the fourth quarter to eventually take the win by 35.

As much as the score got out of hand, Dunlevy was proud of the way the effort level never dropped.

“They were getting loose balls, boxing out, scratching and clawing,” he said. “When we’ve lost this year, it’s been because we’ve had trouble scoring. The effort has been there.”

With the end of the Redskins season, it marked the end for Dunlevy’s five seniors in Nicholas Crawford, Wyatt Pugh, Aaron Robinson, Andy Waggoner and Austin Yaich.

“They’re all great kids and great students from great families,” he said. “It’s easier to coach when you are coaching kids like them. I couldn’t ask for five better human beings than what I got in them.”

Though it was a disappointing ending, Dunlevy was proud of the season as a whole.

“We had some nice wins, got in the OVAC tournament, finished second in the Buckeye 8 and won a sectional,” he said. “A lot of guys would take that right now regardless of how this turned out (Wednesday), and I will take it. I’m proud of the effort all season.”

Cameron Brooks-Harris, a 6-for-7 senior, led the Blue Devils with a game-high 20 points and five rebounds. Aronde’ Myers scored 12, while Clayton Foreman and Cobe Curry each added 11.

Yaich and Waggoner led the Redskins with five points each, while Norris finished with four off the bench.

Zanesville 58, Indian Creek 23

Indian Creek 7-8-4-4 — 23

Zanesville 11-16-16-15 — 58

INDIAN CREEK (12-12): Eakle 1 0-0 2; Yaich 2 0-0 5; Judson 0 0-0 0; Crawford 1 0-0 3; Waggoner 1 3-4 5; Norris 1 2-5 4; Pugh 1 0-2 2; Robinson 0 0-0 0; Allan 0 2-2 2. TOTALS: 7, 7-13, 23.

ZANESVILLE (18-6): Brooks-Harris 6 6-7 20; Foreman 4 2-2 11; Young 1 0-0 2; Myers 4 3-4 12; Curry 4 0-1 11; Norris 1 0-0 2; Williams 0 0-0 0; Walker 0 0-0 0; Gaiters 0 0-0 0. TOTALS: 20, 11-16, 58.

3-POINT GOALS: Indian Creek 2 (Yaich, Crawford); Zanesville 7 (Curry 3, Brooks-Harris 2, Foreman, Myers). REBOUNDS: Indian Creek 15 (Eakle 4); Zanesville 24 (Myers 6). ASSISTS: Indian Creek 6 (Eakle 2); Zanesville 15 (Young 4).