Big Red ends in Beaver

HEAVILY GUARDED — Steubenville's Madison Fields drives to the basket as Beaver Local's Madison Cline (left) and Emily Monte defend in a sectional contest Wednesday. (Photo by Dan Santarelli)

CALCUTTA — Beaver Local senior Kierra Taylor played her final game on the Beavers’ floor on Wednesday night and left with a 50-45 win over Steubenville in a Division II sectional opener.

The Beavers are now 12-11 on the season and advance to take on top-seeded New Philadelphia on Saturday.

“We were able to push the ball to get ahead and played good defense all night,” Taylor said.

The Beavers outscored the Big Red 21-11 in the second quarter and used that to maintain pace over Steubenville for the rest of the game.

“We played better in spurts tonight,” Beaver Local head coach Stephanie Coie said. “We tell our girls to push the ball so much that when its time to slow down we are very inexperienced.”

The Beavers led 29-19 going into the locker room, but Big Red came out strong, slashing the lead to only five at 31-26.

“If we aren’t full court pressing, it seems like we don’t know how to run our offense,” Coie said. “We have been focusing on running our offense the past few weeks.”

Beaver Local was led in scoring by Jenna Riccardo with 18 points and nine rebounds. Madison Cline had 13 points and five rebounds. Taylor finished with nine points and six assists.

“We knew that Steubenville was going to pressure, too, and we matched up well,” Coie said. “I think that worked to our advantage, but there were times that we needed to settle down and take care of things. We’ll go back to practice and fix the things that went wrong tonight and get ready for Saturday.”

Steubenville finishes the season 8-15.

“I was happy with the way our girls competed in the second half,” Steubenville head coach Jeff Lombardo said. “Typically, this year, we haven’t been a team that likes to get up and down the court, but we have had some girls develop, so we have a little more depth now.”

Makayla Abrams and Madison Fields led Big Red with 15 points each.

“This was really the first game we pressed the whole game trying to speed things up,” Lombardo said. “We’ve been practicing it for a while now but, obviously, when you get into a game situation it’s a little bit different. In the first half I think it was a bit of a shock to our girls. In the first they were doing fine, but in the second they were getting tired and throwing the ball away, so that’s why we had a 10-point deficit at halftime.”

Big Red had 16 turnovers in the first half, allowing the Beavers to get out in transition in the second quarter.

“We talked about taking care of the basketball at the half and playing fast but letting it slow down in your head,” Lombardo said. “We did that and, frankly, I thought we had a shot to win this game, but we were missing too many easy shots.”

Steubenville only had four turnovers in the second half.

“It wasn’t an effort thing or hustle it was an execution thing,” Lombardo said. “We are young and we’ll get better next year.”

Lombardo is confident in next season as the two leading scorers for Steubenville this year were a freshman (Abram) and sophomore (Fields), respectively.

“We developed some youth in the program, and we have some more coming,” Lombardo said. “We have a good middle school program that is coming up next year. We have a lot coming back next year and, hopefully, we can see some more success.”

Also for Beaver Local, Emily Monte had eight points and two steals.

“This was a great way to start off the tournament,” Taylor said.

Game notes:

≤ Beaver Local’s next task is traveling to face defending district champions New Philadelphia (20-2) in the sectional finals on Saturday.

“They’ve got some good players and we are going to have to play some serious basketball if we want to win,” Coie said.

Beaver Local 50, Steubenville 45

Steubenville 8-11-15-11 — 45

Beaver Local 8-21-12-9 — 50

STEUBENVILLE: Seana Ragusa 2-0-6, Anna Taylor 2-0-4, Sarah Brown 0-0-0, Madison Fields 5-5-15, Makayla Crownover 0-0-0, Mary Marshall 0-0-0, Anaiya Minniefield 1-0-2, Leah Ferguson 0-1-1, Myla Gulan 0-0-0, Makayla Abram 5-6-17 . TEAM TOTALS: 15, 12/20:45

BEAVER LOCAL: Riley Britt 0-0-0, Madison Ours 1-0-2, Kaylee Gump , Kierra Taylor 4-0-9, Madison Cline 5-3-13, Jenna Riccardo 8-2-18, Tanner Yergin 0-0-0, Emily Monte 3-2-8, Sydnie Holden 0-0-0. TEAM TOTALS: 21, 7-11:50

3-POINT GOALS: Steubenville 3 (Ragusa 2, Abram), Beaver Local 1 (Taylor).