St. Clairsville runs past Steubenville

ON THE MOVE — Steubenville’s Seana Ragusa drives toward the basket during Wednesday night’s game against St. Clairsville. Ragusa finished with 12 points, but Big Red fell, 52-38. (Rick Thorp)

ST. CLAIRSVILLE — Sydney Freeman started the third quarter of Wednesday night’s game against Steubenville with a layup off a steal.

It was just one play, but the bucket that gave St. Clairsville a 25-20 lead and jumpstarted a 7-0 run was emblematic of what the Red Devils did to Big Red all night.

Time and time again, St. C. pressured its opponent from Jefferson County. That, coupled with better than average proficiency against Steubenville’s 2-3 zone, resulted in a 52-38 victory, the Red Devils’ fifth in six outings.

”That was probably the best four quarters we’ve played all year,” St. Clairsville head coach Stacey Agnew beamed. ”We thought we could pressure them. Our pressure finally wore them down. We just have to build on this.”

While the Red Devils were enduring their early season struggles, Agnew was confident that once his team tasted victory it would kickstart things. It has.

”We’ve stayed mentally strong,” he said.

St. Clairsville (5-8) jumped out to a 5-0 lead, only to watch Big Red (5-8) rally to go ahead 11-10 after the first quarter. But the Red Devils picked up the pressure in the second and started the stanza on a 13-2 run.

Five players scored for the Red Devils during the spurt, including four from Sydney Freeman, who finished with 11. Her layup off a steal that put her team up eight — 21-13 — prompted Big Red head coach Jeff Lombardo to call time out a little more than two minutes into the quarter.

”We ran a 2-3 zone trying to get them to shoot outside and they did a good job with it,” he said. ”But we were able to climb back to within 23-20 at halftime despite nine turnovers. But they came out in the third quarter and hit some shots.”

Freeman’s aforementioned steal sparked what turned out being a 19-10 advantage for the hosts in the quarter. St. Clairsville, however, started the period on a 17-5 run, one that saw Maria Vincenzo pour in eight of her game-high 16 points.

Agnew lauded Taylor for the work she did off the bench defending Big Red’s top inside presence — Rhiannon Petrisko — who paced Steubenville with 14 points.

Petrisko actually stopped the Red Devils’ third-quarter run, dropping in a bucket making it a 40-27 game late in the quarter.

But just when it seemed like Steubenville was set to make a run St. Clairsville had an answer. The Red Devils started the fourth by scoring six straight points, the capper coming on a turnaround jumper by Katie Bradshaw from the right baseline.

Seana Ragusa added 12 points for Steubenville on four 3-pointers.

”We’re going to go back and watch the film and work on getting better,” Lombardo said. ”As long as the girls keep working we should improve.”

St. Clairsville 52, Steubenville 38

Steubenville 11 9 10 8 — 38

St. Clairsville 10 13 19 10 — 52

STEUBENVILLE: Ragusa 4, 0-0 12; Haney 0, 0-0 0; Brown 1, 0-0 2; King 0, 0-0 0; Crownover 0, 0-0 0; Fields 3, 1-1 7; Saunders 1, 0-2 3; Banks 0, 0-0 0; Petrisko 7, 0-5 14. Totals: 16, 1-8 38. 3-pointers: Ragusa 4, Saunders.

ST. CLAIRSVILLE: Simpson 4, 0-4 8; Vincenzo 6, 0-1 16; Strama 0, 0-0 0; Freeman 5, 0-0 11; Stephens 0, 0-0 0; Bradshaw 2, 0-0 4; Klinkoski 2, 0-0 5; Henry 2, 0-0 4; Strain 0, 0-0 0; Reager 2, 0-0 4. Totals: 23, 0-5 52. 3-pointers: Vincenco 4, Freeman, Klinkoski.