WINTERSVILLE - Joe Dunlevy was spot on when he called Saturday's battle between Carrollton and Indian Creek "a great high school basketball game."
The pair of defensive-minded, work for the good shot clubs went toe-to-toe for 32 minutes before the Warriors earned a hard-fought 35-33 victory.
Prior to tipoff, Dunlevy admitted he was worried about stopping Carrollton's horse, also known as Stephen Ericksen. Unfortunately for the Redskins, that didn't happen.
The husky 6-foot-4 senior recorded a double-double (18 points and 12 rebounds) as Matt Voll's club snapped a two-game losing streak and improved to 8-2 on the season. He managed six field goal, was a perfect six for six from the line and blocked four Creek shots.
Ericksen put the game out reach after rebounding a Creek misfire with a little more than five seconds to play, drawing a foul and calmly knocking down both ends of a one and one.
"It was a great game and there definitely was a tournament type atmosphere," Dunlevy said. "It came down to the end and we just got beat. They were a couple of points better."
Thanks to a jumper by Alex Young, the Redskins trailed by one (24-23) after three quarters. Shane Winland opened the final quarter when he scored off a Matt Furda assist to put Creek up 25-24.
From there, the lead changed hands six times. The Warriors went ahead to stay when Jake Peterson drove the lane and banked one home, making it 32-31 Carrollton with 1:05 left.
Dunlevy's club milked the clock to under 10 seconds before going for the game winner. The Redskins had a good look, but unfortunately the shot didn't fall. Ericksen grabbed the rebound and sealed the deal.
"I'm proud of how hard our kids played," Dunlevy added. "I have no complaints in that area. That's a good basketball team over there."
Creek held a 10-8 lead after one and the halftime score was knotted at 14.
Neither team shot the ball well from the floor, due in large part to the constant defensive pressure. Creek connected on 10 of 39 tries while Carrollton was 14 for 38. The Redskins were just 11 of 18 from the line compared to Carrollton's seven for eight showing.
Ericksen took game scoring honors with his 18, eight of which came in the final frame. Peterson finished with eight. The Warriors won the rebounding battle 28-25.
Young had 14 for Creek, all but four coming from the charity stripe. He also hauled down a team-high seven rebounds. Frankie Kamarec had eight and Furda seven.
Dunlevy admitted playing Carrollton, a strong Division II program, will help his Redskins down the road.
"When we went to 22 games this season, we were able to add two," he explained. "We scheduled Carrollton and Dover in order to keep improving the level of our competition."
The Redskins, now 6-2, will be back in action Wednesday when Weir visits.