MORRISTOWN - The Steubenville Big Red girls basketball team displayed the heart of a champion during their Ohio Division II sectional game at Union Local Tuesday.
Ultimately it fell just short as an Emiley Masloski three-pointer to tie the game was off the mark, and No. 1 seed Carrollton held on to claim a 52-48 win.
"I think our girls played tremendous on the defensive end," said Big Red head coach Phil Casinelli. "The game plan the coaching staff, Coach (Mark) Masloski and Coach (Angie) Forte had, the girls executed to perfection. Offensively, in the first half, we didn't get a couple shots to fall. We were kind of lagging behind.
TOUGH NIGHT — Steubenville Big Red’s Emiley Masloski sets up the offense during Big Red’s 52-48 Division II girls sectional loss to Carrollton Tuesday at Union Local. Masloski scored a game-high 18 points.
-- Fred Younce
"We fought. Our girls fought for 32 minutes. They didn't give up. I thought they played an outstanding game. Emiley just, with that injury, just couldn't get any lift on that last shot, and it just came up short."
Emiley Masloski, who was hobbled by injury, played a game to remember in the loss. The junior guard struck for a game-high 18 points, and hit a three with 22.4 seconds left to pull her team within three at 51-48.
"She's playing at about 60 percent," said Casinelli. "It's a shame that a girl who works so hard and loves the game so much that, at this stage, she wasn't able to be at 100 percent.
"She obviously wanted to be there for her teammates. She gutted it out again. She's been doing that for a month. Her performance speaks for itself."
Carrollton's Monica Starre missed two foul shots after being fouled with 17 seconds left giving Big Red the shot at the tie. When Steubenville's final shot fell short Starre was fouled again with .6 seconds left and hit one of two for the four-point final margin of victory.
Big Red struggled to open the game, getting outscored 15-7 in the first quarter, but was able to stay in the game behind a strong defensive effort.
The Warriors managed just six points in the second stanza, and Big Red cut the intermission deficit to 21-17.
The third quarter saw Big Red tie the game at 27-all and 30-all before finally trailing 33-32 to enter the final eight minutes.
Lysiah Rice joined Masloski in double figures with 10 points. Taylor Young added eight and Abbey Taylor seven.
Starre and Savana Lowery tied for the Warriors top honors with 13 points each. Ali Poole added 11 points.
Though Big Red's season comes to an end with the loss there is still much for Casinelli's young team to celebrate.
"It was an outstanding season," Casinelli said. "We told our kids not to hang their heads. To be proud of what we did. We won 16 games. We were OVAC champs. We did a lot of good things this season.
"We also told them not to forget this feeling because, hopefully, we're not losing anybody. We want to individually get better, as a team get better, and hopefully we can get back to this stage next year and the outcome will be different."
Carrollton 52, Big Red 48
Big Red 7 10 15 16 - 48
Carrollton 15 6 12 19 - 52
BIG RED: E. Masloski 6 3-5 18, H. Masloski 0 1-4 1, Young 2 2-2 8, Wilson 0 0-2 0, Barker 1 2-2 4, Rice 4 2-2 10, Bodo 0 0-2 0, Taylor 2 2-2 7. TOTALS: 15 12-21 48. 3-pointers: E. Masloski (3), Young (2), Taylor.
CARROLLTON: Poole 5 1-1 11, Vernier 1 0-1 2, Starre 6 1-4 13, DeVine 1 3-6 5, Lowdermilk 3 1-3 7, Voll 0 1-2 1, Lowery 6 1-2 13. TOTALS: 22 8-19 52.