Big Red powers past the Crusaders

CITY RIVALRY — Steubenville’s Rhiannon Petrisko goes up for a shot against Catholic Central’s Grace Godich during the first half of Wednesday’s game inside the Mickey Barber Gymnasium. Big Red won 52-36 as Petrisko scored 16 points. (Mike Mathison)

STEUBENVILLE — Emily King came off the bench to score a career-high 14 points and the Steubenville girls’ basketball team answered every Steubenville Catholic Central fourth-quarter run in a 52-36 victory Wednesday evening inside the Mickey Barber Gymnasium.

“We really wanted this win,” said Big Red senior Rhiannon Petrisko, who scored a game-high 16 points. “We were talking about it all day at school. We knew we had to come in here and play really hard. We had to play really hard in the third and fourth quarters because those have been our bad quarters.

“Being up at the half (20-16) was really big and coming out in the second half and playing like we did means it was a good team win.”

Steubenville took that halftime advantage and stretched it to a 38-22 cushion going into the final eight minutes thanks to an 18-6 third period.

King hit 5 of 6 at the line, Na Banks buried three triples and Petrisko added five in the quarter.

“I’m just really happy for the kids,” second-year Steubenville head coach Jeff Lombardo said. “Central’s had a great year. We’ve been a little bit down. We’ve lost some tough games. Our kids didn’t give up.

“A lot of kids could pack it in to end the season, our kids prepared well in practice and we have a good defensive game plan and we executed it.

“They are an aggressive team and we did a good job of keeping them off the glass, for the most part. I think that was the difference.”

CCHS has dropped two in a row after Saturday’s OVAC loss to Wheeling Central.

“I don’t think they (the Crusaders) came ready to play and Big Red came ready to play,” Central head coach Jess Looman said. “Big Red came prepared. We didn’t come prepared. They made their free throws and we didn’t.”

Central cut the lead to 38-27 with 6:24 left in the game.

Big Red made it 42-27 with 4:35 showing, but the Crusaders scored the next five points to cut it to 42-32 in the next 38 seconds.

It was 45-34 with 2:32 to go, when Steubenville scored the next five points in 63 seconds to put the game away.

Big Red never allowed the lead to get below 10 points.

“The reason is, for the first time this season, we made our free throws,” Lombardo said. “We’re shooting 44 percent as a team from the free throw line. Emily King came in and was 9 of 13 — and those might be her first 13 free throws this season.

“She played a heck of a game. She made some big shots and in an environment like this, it’s tough to go to the free throw line and make those shots.”

Steubenville was 19-for-31 from the line and Central was 8-for-21.

“We have to get back in the gym and start from the beginning if we’re going to have a chance to come out and beat Bridgeport,” Looman said. “It’s been the same things all season long — it’s the little things. It’s making out shots underneath. It’s making our foul shots. It’s not making dumb fouls. It’s not just throwing the ball up because we feel like we need to take a shot.”

Brittany Bertoia was the only Crusader in double figures with 13 points. Shayna Mirabella added eight.

“We have to prepare every single day for Bridgeport,” Looman said. “No off days.”

The Crusaders host the Bulldogs at 7 p.m. Feb. 23 in a Division III sectional game.

Big Red readies itself for its sectional game Wednesday at 7 p.m. at Dover.

“All the girls here know each other,” said Lombardo, who saw Na Banks can three triples for nine points. “Their friends, but it’s a completive friendship. A win is a win, but, for the kinds, I’m happy because I know they are excited to get a win over their rival.”

Steubenville 52, Catholic Central 36

Steubenville 10 10 18 14 — 52

Catholic Central 7 9 6 14 — 36

STEUBENVILLE: Petrisko 5 6-11 16, King 2 9-13 14, Banks 3 0-0 9, Fields 1 3-5 5, Ragusa 2 0-0 5, Haney 1 0-0 2, Brown 0 1-2 1, Saunders 0 0-0 0. TOTALS: 14 14-31 52. 3-pointers: Banks 3, King, Ragusa.

CATHOLIC CENTRAL: Bertoia 5 1-3 13, Mirabella 2 4-6 8, Simmons 2 1-1 5, Capaldi 2 0-1 4, Turnage 1 2-5 4, Oliver 1 0-2 2, Taglione 0 0-3 0, Godich 0 0-0 0, Zatta 0 0-0 0, Dombrowski 0 0-0 0, DiBiase 0 0-0 0, Olszewski 0 0-0 0. TOTALS: 13 8-21 36. 3-pointers: Bertoia 2.