NORTH ROBINSON — Colonel Crawford kept its undefeated streak intact after handing State Route 602 neighbor Buckeye Central a 64-49 defeat on Friday evening at Mac Morrison Gymnasium.
With the win, Colonel Crawford (11-0, 7-0 Northern 10 Athletic Conference) swept the season series from the Bucks. The Eagles, ranked No. 2 in the latest Associated Press Division III boys basketball poll, defeated Buckeye Central 54-42 in New Washington on Dec. 4.
Eagles seniors Mason Studer and Carter Valentine combined to score 45 of Colonel Crawford’s 64 points on Friday. Studer, the third-leading scorer in the Northern 10 Athletic Conference this season, poured in a game-high 30 points. Valentine, who’s No. 4 among the Northern 10’s scoring leaders this season, heated up in the second half and finished with 15 points for the Eagles. Studer had four three-point field goals and Valentine hit one. The Eagles finished with six triples in total.
Senior Aiden McDougal led Buckeye Central with 15 points. He hit two three-point shots. Classmate Alex Kanney contributed 13 points for the Bucks, knocking down three of the Bucks six three-point field goals.
Colonel Crawford jumped out to a 4-0 lead on consecutive baskets by senior forward Carson Feichtner, but Bucks junior Tyler Sanderson helped Buckeye Central keep pace by knocking down a three-point field goal and a two-point basket to trim the deficit to 6-5. The Eagles then went on a 9-3 run to close out the period with a 15-8 lead.
The Bucks (3-9, 2-6 Northern 10) tied the game at 15 early in the second quarter after Kanney scored eight consecutive points. He hit a three-pointer to open the period and then added two more baskets that knotted the score. After the two sides traded buckets, Colonel Crawford regained the lead for good when junior Braxton Baker drained a three-point goal that gave his team a 20-17 edge.
Studer then scored five straight points to push the Eagles lead to 25-17 before Bucks junior Stephen Sostakowski hit a basket late in the period to bring Buckeye Central to within six points, 25-19, at halftime.
Buckeye Central outscored Colonel Crawford 11-10 in the second period. Valentine went scoreless in the opening half of play.
“We didn’t shoot it well the first half,” Colonel Crawford head coach David Sheldon said. “We got some great looks, but just didn’t shoot it well. Then in the second half, we made some shots and got some offensive rebounds when we didn’t make shots. Anytime you win by 15 it’s a good win against a county rival.”
The two teams traded baskets early in the third quarter before Valentine began to heat up. With the Eagles nursing a 28-25 lead, he scored five consecutive points to push the advantage to 33-25. Studer then knocked down a pair of three-point field goals to offset five points from McDougal that upped the Eagles lead to 39-30 with about four minutes left in the period.
The Eagles ended the third quarter with a 48-37 cushion after outscoring the Bucks 9-7 in the final four minutes of the period.
Colonel Crawford outscored Buckeye Central 16-12 in the fourth quarter to seal the win. Valentine added six points in the period and Studer had seven more points. The Eagles benefited from 11 offensive rebounds in the second half and finished with 20 offensive boards altogether. Colonel Crawford had 39 total rebounds.
“They (Buckeye Central) do a great job of just hanging around in games,” Sheldon said. “It’s never a blowout. It’s just close. I thought they did a good job. Hit six threes on the night.”
Buckeye Central head coach Tom Howell said he believes his ballclub is much better than what its record indicates this season.
“Our kids come ready to play every night,” Howell said. “The schedule’s tough. The teams we play are good. Non-conference schedule’s good. We practice hard. We practice well. We’ve got a lot of kids that do a lot of good things. We just find one little thing that hurts us every night. Tonight, it happened to be 20 offensive rebounds (by the Eagles).
“I mean, if we cut that in half, they don’t get maybe 10 points and we might get seven. Then you don’t know what’s going to happen. But I’m proud of our kids. That’s a very good basketball team we played with tonight.”
Feichtner finished with eight points for Colonel Crawford, adding a basket in the fourth period. Baker had six points, knocking down one three-pointer. Junior Derek Horsley added three points and junior Jacob Maddy finished with two points.
Sanderson ended up with eight points for the Bucks, including hitting one three-point field goal. Senior Casey Geissman chipped in with six points. Sostakowski added four points and senior Logan Niese had three points.
Colonel Crawford will be back in action off of a short turnaround on Saturday when Lexington (10-3) visits Mac Morrison Gymnasium. The Minutemen dropped a 64-48 decision to Ashland in Ohio Cardinal Conference play on Friday night.
The Eagles play two road games against Northern 1 0 foes in the upcoming week. Colonel Crawford travels to Carey on Wednesday and then plays at Bucyrus on Saturday.
Buckeye Central is also scheduled to play on Saturday evening. The Bucks will entertain Lucas (8-2), which held off Crestline 52-46 in Mid-Buckeye Conference action on Friday.
Buckeye Central will be off until next Saturday when they play host to Mohawk in another Northern 10 matchup.