Ridgewood 56 Newcomerstown 42

WEST LAFAYETTE -- In the first round of a good old fashioned backyard rivalry it was the host Ridgewood Generals that claimed first bragging rights and closed out 2016 with a 56-42 Inter-Valley Conference win over the visiting Newcomerstown Trojans on Friday.

Newcomerstown had turnover problems and converted on just 2-of-9 shots from the field the opening quarter as the Generals capitalized to build a 12-5 lead at the close. The Trojans found the shooting touch and limited the turnovers to score within a point of the host (17-16) the second round to send the teams to the locker room with Ridgewood on top 29-21, but it was still a game.

"We turned the ball over and had defensive breakdowns," Newcomerstown coach Brad Lineback admitted. "On too many critical possessions we turned the ball over, but we played hard. Ridgewood executed well and played a good game."

Following the intermission, Newcomerstown again had trouble holding onto the ball suffering eight miscues and connected on just 4-of-11 floor shots, but Ridgewood didn't shoot well either (4-of-15) even though the Generals posted a 11-10 scoring advantage hitting 3-of-4 free throws as the teams went to the final eight minutes separated by nine (40-31).

"We will take all the easy baskets we can get, Ridgewood coach Jamie McCrea stated. "In this league there are usually very few easy baskets. Our outside defense caused some of their turnovers. Braeden Smith had a good game and it started with his defense.. We were a little concerned with George Brode for Newcomerstown, but as a senior Smith stepped up and volunteered to guard him.

"He did a good job guarding Brode," he added, "and his game started with his defense and carried over to the offense. This is a good rivalry and the kids all know each other. This is for bragging rights."

The Trojans scored the first two buckets of the final stanza to cut the deficit to five (40-35), but Ridgewood answered with goals by Chase Griffith and Keith Leindecker to up the margin to nine again.

Back-to-back buckets by Leindecker and Jhett Slusser boosted the Ridgewood lead to 12 (48-36) with 3:27 to play. After a free throw by the Trojans and another goal by Leindecker, a three-pointer by J'marea Sterns pulled the Trojans within 10 (50-40) with 2:31 showing, but the Generals reeled off three straight hoops, one by Zach Wright and a pair by Slusser to give Ridgewood its biggest lead of the night (16) and both coaches went heavily to their respective benches.

Bryce Barbera scored the final goal of the contest with 45 seconds remaining to provide the 56-42 final.

Newcomerstown (1-6, 1-5 IVC) finished hitting 16-of-41 field shots for 39 percent, but converted just 4-of-10 from the foul line. Brennan Wilkin paced the Trojans in scoring with 16 points followed by Brandon Septer with 10 points, three assists and two steals, while Barbera and Brode chipped in with six and five points, respectively. The visitors finished with 20 turnovers.

Ridgewood (2-6, 1-4 IVC) was led by Leindecker who turned in a double-double of 16 points and 11 boards, while Smith also had a double-double of 11 points and 11 rebounds. The Generals were 23-of-51 from the floor for 45 percent and added 6-of-12 from the bonus line. Slusser and Wright contributed eight and seven points, respectively.

Slusser and Smith each had two of the eight assists for the Generals who turned the ball over 11 times.

The Generals posted a 35-30 rebounding advantage led by Leindecker and Smith, while Levi Kilpatrick pulled down five boards with Barbera and Brode adding four each. Brode also swatted four Ridgewood shots.

Indian Valley 76Manchester 61

GNADENHUTTEN -- It was a back-and-forth Principals Athletic Conference battle Friday with one tie and seven lead changes, but the host Indian Valley Braves blew things open the second half and rolled to a 76-61 win over the Panthers to close out the 2016 addition of the season.

The Braves jumped in front early with a 20-13 scoring advantage the opening quarter and after the teams battled the second round, Indian Valley came out on top with a 19-16 scoring edge to take a 39-29 lead to the locker room at halftime.

Following the break, the Braves continued to build on their lead out scoring the Panthers 24-17 the third round and then posted their biggest lead of the night (20) with 3:13 to go in the final stanza with Manchester cutting into the deficit to pull within the 76-61 final.

Indian Valley was 27-of-50 from the field for a sizzling 54 percent and added 14-of-19 from the charity stripe. Cade Williams paced the Braves offense with 26 points followed by Connor McGuire with 18. Karson Hartrick, Braden Rostad and Jarrett Helter chipped in with nine points each.

Helter also dished out 11 of the Braves' 20 assists and McGuire had three of the five steals. Indian Valley was guilty of just seven turnovers.

Manchester made 20-of-46 floor shots for 43.5 percent and tacked on 12-of-15 from the bonus line. Van Walbrown led the Panthers in scoring with 18 points and Coye Schuler followed with 12. JoJo France and Sam Hettich added eight counters each.

France also handed out five of the Panthers' 11 assists and the visitors collected just three steals. Manchester suffered 12 turnovers.

Indian Valley dominated the boards with a 36-21 advantage with Williams completing the double-double with 10 boards with Helter adding six. France pulled down five caroms for Manchester.

Garaway 53 Ridgewood 47

WEST LAFAYETTE -- Visiting Garaway High slipped past Ridgewood 53-47 in Inter-Valley Conference boys basketball action on Tuesday.

Ty Hamsher tallied 11 points in the first quarter to give the Pirates the early lead at 16-11 after one quarter of play. Hamsher would finish with a game-high 27 points to lead the way for Garaway Malik Shaffer adding five points.

Junior Chase Griffith paced the Generals with 13 points followed closely by senior Braeden Smith with 12 points including a pair of three-pointers and senior Jhett Slusser finished with seven markers.

Indian Valley 74Claymont 66

UHRICHSVILLE -- Indian Valley took to the road to open the new year and collected a 74-66 victory over host Claymont High in non-league boys hardwood action on Tuesday.

Indian Valley held a slim 38-35 lead at the halftime break and the Braves would outscore the host Mustangs by a margin of 36-31 in the second half to claim the road win.

Cade Williams pumped in 21 points along with pulling down 10 rebounds to lead the Braves' attack, while Connor McGuire tallied 16 points and Braden Rostad added 14 for the winners. Just missing double figures for IV was Jarrett Helter with nine points with Karson Hartrick and Tanner Myers each chipping in with six points.

Claymont got a game-high 25 point night from Jake Smith while Terin Harris and Joe Cottis each racked up 17 points for the Mustangs.

Indian Valley turned in a solid effort from the charity stripe by connecting on 18-of-22 attempts with Williams hitting on 6-of-7 free throw opportunities for the Braves.

Buckeye Trail 67Newcomerstown 65

OLD WASHINGTON -- Despite entering Tuesday's game with just one victory, visiting Newcomerstown High gave Buckeye Trail all it could handle but in the end it was a one-on-one drive to the hoop by senior CJ McCall which pulled out a 67-65 hard-earned victory for the Warriors.

Newcomerstown (1-7) turned in one of its best performances of the season in the return of head coach Brad Lineback to the scene of one of his earlier coaching stops. Lineback coached the Buckeye Trail girls' team in the early 2000s, and it was a chance to renew acquaintances with one of his former assistants - first-year Trail head coach Gary Chumney - which almost went his team's way.

"Coach Lineback got me into coaching when he was here as the girls' coach for four years," related Chumney, "so I owe a lot to him. I was afraid he was going to get me tonight and he darn near did.

"I'm happy we were able to hang on and pull it out," the BT coach added.

The Trojans enjoyed a solid shooting night, hitting 26-of-43 field goal attempts (60 percent), much better than Trail's chilly 28-of-72 effort (39 percent), but the Warriors made up for their off-shooting by forcing 17 Newcomerstown turnovers while only giving the ball away six times.

Senior Troy Pontius had the hot hand at the outset, pouring in 14 first-quarter points to spark Trail to a 24-20 lead at the initial break.

McCall chipped in six for the Warriors while seniors Bryce Barbera and Brennan Wilkin tallied seven and five, respectively, for the Trojans.

Newcomerstown opened the second period with a 9-0 blitz capped by a "trey" from Wilkin for a 29-24 upperhand, but back-to-back goals by senior Jacob Doudna cut the lead to one at the mid-way point of the round.

Trail managed a 12-10 edge the rest of the quarter to go on top, 40-39, at the intermission. Doudna and Wilkin led their respective teams with seven points each in the quarter.

The Warriors scored on three straight possessions early in the third chapter to take a 46-41 lead, but Newcomerstown put together a 13-1 scoring spree - the first four on inside buckets from Barbera and seven of the other nine by Wilkin - to take its biggest lead of the night, 54-47, with 1:37 remaining in the third period.

Trail scored seven of the final nine points of the quarter, however, on two free throws by Doudna; a "triple" by Pontius and a buzzer-beating lay-up by sophomore Branden Barnett to narrow the gap to two, 56-54, heading to the final frame.

The hosts kept going to start the fourth, with Doudna getting consecutive put-backs and Pontius hitting two at the charity stripe for a 60-56 Trail advantage.

A hoop and two free throws by Barbera evened the score at 60-all with 3:40 to play before Doudna rebounded again; Wilkin nailed a "three" and Trail soph Zach Grafton scored off a steal to leave the Warriors in front, 64-63, with 1:16 to play.

After a NHS turnovers, McCall hit one-of-two at the line for a 65-63 Trail lead, but senior Brandan Septer drove the lane with the equalizer with 27 seconds to play.

That set the stage for McCall's game-winning drive to the hoop which stood up when a last-ditch 17-foot runner by the Trojans bounced off the rim.

"They shot it well," Chumney said of the Trojans, "but we gave them too many open 'looks' and that frustrates me because we work on defense so much.

"We went to a 3-2 (offensive set) to start the fourth quarter and got back in it," the BT coach continued, "and Jake really picked it up and got on the boards in the second half.

"Zach came up with a huge steal and Troy took a huge charge that was probably a game-saver, not to mention he played the game of his life especially in the first half," said Chumney. "Credit Coach Rome for calling that final play and CJ executed it perfectly."

Pontius finished with 23 points to lead Trail, with Doudna scoring 17 and McCall adding 16 in support. Those three also led the Warriors in rebounding, with Doudna grabbing 10, McCall eight and Pontius seven while sophomore Dylan Beaver added five caroms.

Wilkin and Barbera carried the scoring load for Newcomerstown with 24 and 21, respectively. Barbera also had eight rebounds and five assists while senior George Brode tallied eight points and grabbed nine boards.

"I was proud of our effort and how we played to the end," said Newcomertown's Lineback. "It was definitely one of our best efforts and something to build on.

"Turnovers have been our bug-a-boo and they caught up with us again tonight," the Trojans' boss said. "Brennan and Bryce gave us solid scoring, but we're definitely going to need a third guy to step up consistently."

Trail closed with a 33-30 rebounding edge.

Malvern 70, Newcomerstown 61

NEWCOMERSTOWN -- Visiting Malvern High turned back a stern challenge from Newcomerstown before claiming a 70-61 Inter-Valley Conference victory on Friday.

The Hornets (7-3, 4-3 IVC) led by five points after a high-scoring first quarter at 24-19, thanks in part to four three-point field goals (two by Brandon Patterson), and then knocked down three more "triples" in the second period for a 15-14 edge which extended the halftime lead over the Trojans to 39-33.

A six-point quarter from Mark Mayle and two more "treys" from the Hornets resulted in a 17-13 edge in round three which pushed the advantage to 56-46 and NHS could only muster a slim 15-14 edge over the final eight minutes to pare the final margin to nine.

Mayle tallied 22 points to lead Malvern. Jaret Majestic contributed 18 markers; Patterson had 14 and Drew Hutchison added eight in support.

The trio of Bryce Barbera, Brennan Wilkin and George Brode led the Trojans (1-8, 1-6 IVC), with Barbera scoring 21 points while Wilkin and Brode each contributed 15 counters to account for all but 10 of the team's points.

Tusky Catholic 52, Ridgewood 50

WEST LAFAYETTE - Visiting Tuscarawas Central Catholic eked out a 52-50 victory over Ridgewood in Inter-Valley Conference hoop action on Friday.

Ridgewood led 15-10 after the opening quarter, and used a 14-13 edge in the second period to remain in front, 29-23, at the intermission. A 15-9 surge by TCC in the third period evened the score at 38-all heading to the final frame where the Saints gained a 14-12 edge for the victory.

Beau Beamer paced Tusky Catholic with 18 points, wiht Austin Dick collecting 15 markers.

For Ridgewood, Keith Leindecker tallied 19 points and Braeden Smith netted a dozen, with Chase Griffith providing support with eight markers.