ST. CLAIRSVILLE - St. Clairsville is tough to beat on its home court.
Indian Creek learned that the hard way Thursday night as St. C. honored its eight seniors and cruised to a 61-41 victory on John Jenkins Court inside the Devils' Den.
St. Clairsville (16-2) scored 15 of the game's first 19 points and eventually led 23-11 after one quarter.
"We've been notoriously slow starters, but not tonight," said Red Devils' head coach Kim Clifford. "I don't know if it was because it was senior night that we played so well early, but we did get out of the gates quickly."
Seniors Jerrid Marhefka and Dan Monteroso had the hot hands early. Monteroso, who signed his football letter of intent to Purdue on Wednesday, scored 10 in the first quarter, while Marhefka netted seven in the opening eight minutes.
"This is the fourth time we've played them in the last two years and this is the first time I've been disappointed with how we played," Indian Creek head coach Joe Dunlevy said. "In the first quarter, we didn't run offense and we tried a little bit different defense and they made us pay. They hit shot after shot, which is to their credit."
St. Clairsville didn't stop there, either.
The Red Devils proceeded to score the first 10 points of the second quarter and hold the Redskins (13-5) scoreless for the first five minutes of the second quarter.
"We've worked really hard on what we call, 'guarding your yard' or guarding your own man," Clifford said. "When we did help, we were in the right spot to take away easy chances. So, our on-the-ball defense was good and our rotations were even better."
Marhefka ended the first half with a bonus bomb just before the horn and the Red Devils were firmly in charge with a 38-17 halftime cushion.
"Give St. Clairsville credit defensively because they took us right out of what we wanted to do," Dunlevy said. "We just weren't prepared to play, I guess. We knew what they were going to do and we still didn't run offense."
The Red Devils' lead swelled to as many as 28 early in the third thanks to a 7-0 run to begin the half and basically St. C. had it on cruise control from there.
"They played last night and we've played six games in 11 days, so I think both teams were pretty fatigued in the second half," Clifford observed. "That resulted in give up a bucket, get two and just trading scores basically."
Monteroso finished with a game-high 26 points and nine rebounds. For good measure, he blocked four shots. Marhefka was his top complement with a solid 18-point outburst.
St. Clairsville played the majority of the game without senior guard Riley Carlton, who left with an injury. However, Clifford believes Carlton will be fine.
Indian Creek, meanwhile, was paced by Alex Young and Frank Kamarec. They each scored 10.
The Redskins were charted for 12 turnovers, which was four more than the winners. St. C. yanked down 28 rebounds, while Creek collected 22 stray shots.
St. Clairsville returns to the court with a Saturday afternoon road tilt at Buckeye Local before hosting Martins Ferry Tuesday in the OVAC Tourney. The Redskins are off until Tuesday when they make the lengthy trek to Parkersburg to take on South in an OVAC 5A semifinal.
St. Clairsville 61, Indian Creek 41
Indian Creek 11 6 13 11 - 41
St. Clairsville 23 15 12 11 - 61
INDIAN CREEK: Kamarec 4, 1-4 10; Furda 1, 0-0 3; Roar 1, 1-2 4; Young 5, 0-0 10; Haught 2, 2-2 7; Durbin 0, 2-2 2; Foldi 0, 0-0 0; Sullivan 0, 1-2 1; Winland 1, 2-2 4; Totals: 14, 9-14 41. 3-pointers: Kamarec, Furda, Roar, Haught.
ST. CLAIRSVILLE: Monteroso 9, 7-13 26; Carlton 0, 0-0 0; Jeffries 1, 3-4 5; Marhefka 7, 2-3 18; Giffin 0, 2-2 2; Campbell 2, 2-2 8; Burghy 0, 0-0 0; Derosa 0, 0-0 0; Keylor 0, 0-0 0; Gossett 0, 0-0 0; Coleman 1, 0-0 2; Panepucci 0, 0-0 0; Totals: 20, 16-24 61. 3-pointers: Monteroso, Marhefka 2, Campbell 2.