Brooke downs St. Clairsville
ST. CLAIRSVILLE – Every basketball team is going to make a few runs during the course of a game.
How those are handled usually lead to determining the outcome.
The host Red Devils got down by as many as 10 in the fourth quarter and, on cue, made their run to get within three, at 44-41, after lay in by Michael Scarnecchia.
However, as they’d done basically the entire final 18 minutes of the game, the Brooke Bruins had the answer.
Brooke scored the final eight points of the game and posted a 52-41 victory Saturday night in Belmont County. The win evens the Bruins mark at 1-1.
“I just told our kids I was happy with how they responded and met the challenge after St. Clairsville’s run,” said Brooke head coach Dave Reitter. “I think our kids showed their mettle down the stretch.”
The loss drops St. Clairsville to 2-1 on the young season as head coach Kim Clifford continues to work to find the right mix of his young pieces.
“We weren’t on our ‘A’ game and we had to fight back most of the game, so that’s a bad combination,” Clifford said. “Give Brooke credit because they answered every time. We gave effort, but every time we needed a critical shot to go in or get a stop, we didn’t get it.”
St. Clairsville watched Brooke score the final five points of the half to take a 18-17 upperhand into the intermission. Both teams played on Friday, which may have led to some of the sluggish play early in the contest.
However, the Bruins kicked it in thanks to the work of senior Anthony Barnhart, who buried a trey and sophomore Thomas Cole, who was tough on the interior.
“We’re fortunate that our kids were able to fight through some of the slowness at the beginning of the ball game,” said Reitter.
The Bruins scored 10 of the first 12 points in both the third and quarters, forcing the Devils to scratch and claw their way back each time. They got within two at the end of the third when Jared Derosa hit a trey and then got a pull-up jumper to drop.
“This kind of game is something we’re going to learn from and try to get better on Monday,” Clifford said. “We’re just trying to figure out who we are. We’re going to get better and learn through each game.”
Aquil Dameron, who struggled in the first half off the bench, got back-to-back buckets to begin the fourth and senior Russell Schwertfeger tallied in transition before Brendan Ferns stopped the St. C. bleeding.
But, Cole, who finished with 13 points and 21 rebounds, pushed it back to a 10-point lead before St. C. made its final spurt.
“Thomas did a great job on the boards, but I want to credit our other kids because they boxed out well and battled,” Reitter said. “We came in today and looked at this as the first day and forgot about what happened last night and I thought our kids responded very well.”
Barnhart went for 15 to lead the Bruins. Schwertfeger finished with nine.
The Red Devils had three players reach double figures. Scarnecchia, Daniel Trouten and Derosa all evenly divided 30 points. Ferns, who is a sophomore, had six points and eight rebounds, which was a team high.
Brooke held a 38-22 edge on the boards. Both teams were charted for 16 turnovers.