YORK TWP. — The Buckeye boys basketball team had been impatiently counting down the days until its rematch with Firelands. The clock struck zero Friday night.
Senior forward Carter Hudak scored 11 points and junior guard Anthony Watkins had 10 points and four steals, leading the Bucks to a 69-30 destruction of the Falcons in Patriot Athletic Conference Stars Division action.
Senior guard Brock Brumfield added seven points and four assists for Buckeye (9-3, 7-1), which lost its season opener at Firelands 45-42 on Dec. 8. The division-leading Bucks have won their seven subsequent PAC contests by a combined 148 points.
“That game has been in the back of our minds since it happened, so we were ready to go,” said Hudak, who also had two rebounds, two assists and two steals. “We’re really starting to find our defensive identity, and it was fun to get stops and play the game really quickly like we did tonight.”
Buckeye’s defense was nothing short of suffocating, with Watkins blitzing ballhandlers at midcourt, Hudak expertly playing the passing lanes and senior center Justin Canedy shutting down the paint.
As a result, the Falcons (3-8, 3-5) had more turnovers than points until early in the fourth quarter. They were limited to 8-for-29 shooting over the first three periods and wound up with 21 miscues. Leading scorer Nick Denney had just four points on 2-for-11 shooting.
“We didn’t need a reminder about what Firelands did to us at their place,” Watkins said. “All of us know what we’re capable of defensively, and we came out with a lot of energy tonight. We wanted to lock up Denney, Austin (Urban) and Richard (Maggard), and I think we did a real nice job on them.”
Indeed, the Bucks did. Denney, Urban and Maggard went 5-for-22 from the field with 12 turnovers and a lone assist. Sophomore center Jacob Schmitz led the Falcons with 12 points, but six of them occurred in the fourth.
Canedy finished with six points, two steals and two blocks, and senior forward Spencer Imes had five points, four assists and two thefts as Buckeye’s starters racked up 12 steals and 12 assists while only committing five turnovers.
The Bucks, who led from wire to wire, built a 54-17 advantage after three. Coach Tom Harrington played an all-junior varsity lineup in the final period — it outscored Firelands’ regulars 15-13 — and established its high-water mark by twice going up by 43.
“Honestly, I would have gotten all of those guys in earlier, but they only had one quarter left after playing the entire JV game,” Harrington said. “They’re a big reason why we are as good of a defensive team as we’ve become because of how hard they work in practice.”
Dominic Monaco had five points and a team-best five rebounds in the fourth for Buckeye, while Cameron Imes had eight points and two assists in the last eight minutes. Aaron Drew continued his comeback from mononucleosis with nine points.
“That was the best part of the game, watching those guys play the whole fourth quarter,” Hudak said. “We love to see them get a chance to show what they can do because we know how good they are.”
- Longtime Brunswick cross country and track coach Kerry Hunter was on hand cheering for the Bucks. They are 2-0 with him in attendance this season.
- Owen Knittel and Cameron Imes each scored seven points as Buckeye’s junior varsity won 43-26.
Buckeye 69, Firelands 30
FIRELANDS 4 8 5 13 — 30
BUCKEYE 15 20 19 15 — 69
Firelands — Austin Urban 2-0-5, Richard Maggard 1-0-2, Jacob Schmitz 6-0-12, Nick Denney 2-0-4, Aaron Myers 0-0-0, Alexander Angle 1-0-2, Samuel Dennis 0-0-0, Mason Rogozinski 0-1-1, Eric Jones 2-0-4. TOTALS: 14-1-30.
Buckeye — Spencer Imes 2-0-5, Carter Hudak 5-1-11, Justin Canedy 3-0-6, Anthony Watkins 4-0-10, Brock Brumfield 3-1-7, Adam Fauver 0-0-0, Mike Knoll 3-0-6, Aaron Drew 4-0-9, Cameron Imes 3-1-8, Jamie Geteian 0-0-0, Owen Knittel 1-0-2, Clay Gunkelman 0-0-0, Dominic Monaco 2-1-5. TOTALS: 30-4-69.
3-point goals — Urban, Watkins 2, S. Imes, Drew, C. Imes. Rebounds — Firelands 23 (Schmitz 8), Buckeye 25 (Monaco 5). Assists — Firelands 7 (Myers 3), Buckeye 19 (S.Imes, Brumfield 4). Records — Firelands (3-8, 3-5), Buckeye (9-3, 7-1). Junior varsity — Buckeye 43, Firelands 26.