Bruins top Big Red, 44-36, to sweep the season series

GOING UP — Steubenville’s Anaiya Minniefield attempts a layup with Brooke’s Hope Bowman going for a block during the first half of Monday’s game inside the Crimson Center. Also shown is Brooke’s Chloe Fox (3). (Photo by Andrew Grimm)

STEUBENVILLE — A win by any other name is still a win and Brooke’s girls basketball team got one Monday inside Big Red’s Crimson Center.

Ashley Arca tallied a game-high 17 points and Hope Bowman added 14 more as the Bruins snapped a four-game losing streak with the 44-36 victory.

“It was an ugly basketball game, but I guess a win is a win,” Brooke coach Ryan Scherich said after watching his squad improve to 13-7. “We didn’t have school today, so the girls probably sat around all day. It’s not good when you do that and get out of your normal routine.

“We seemed a little out of sync at times but, any time you beat Big Red here it’s a good win.”

Bowman, who went scoreless during the opening quarter, scored eight of Brooke’s 12 second-period points and Scherich’s club led 19-14 at the intermission.

Big Red opened the third with a 9-0 run to take a 23-19 lead. Madison Fields had four of the points and Sarah Brown knocked down a triple. The hosts, thanks to a Makayla Abram bucket went up 27-21 before the Bruins rattled off seven straight. Arca got three the old-fashioned way, Bowman scored from the paint and Chloe Fox added a deuce.

Freshman Myla Gulan’s connection from behind the arc put Big Red back on top 30-28 then Bowman knotted the score with two freebies. A Fox triple, coming off a nice assist from Jordan Arca, allowed Brooke to go up 35-30. Big Red’s Abram scored as the quarter expired.

Brooke outscored Big Red 9-4 in the fourth, five of the points coming on Arca free throw makes.

“She had another good game for us tonight,” Scherich said of Ashley Arca. “She handled the ball well at the end, got to the foul line and made her foul shots down the stretch. She plays that way all the time.

“Hope is Hope (Bowman completed her double-double by collecting 11 rebounds and also swatted away four shots). She was sick last week and she’s probably just getting better.”

Fox finished with eight points for Brooke, which visits Weir High Thursday.

Abram, Big Red’s stellar freshman, and Seana Ragusa, the smooth-shooting senior, had eight each to pace Big Red, which has dropped five straight and now stands at 8-13. Fields and Leah Ferguson, who both got into foul trouble and had to spend time on the bench, contributed seven and six respectively. Brown grabbed nine rebounds. She and Ragusa both dished out three assists.

“We’re a different team offensively when Leah is in the game,” said Big Red coach Jeff Lombardo. “Out of her four fouls, three were not very smart. When she’s on the floor, we move the ball better and make better things happen offensively. When she’s out, we slow down a bit.

“We got a lot of open looks in the second half and we executed much better offensively. We were able to find the right pass at the right time. We just didn’t finish it with shots. There were a couple of times where we made the right jump stop pass inside and the ball would go off our finger tips. We were close, but we just couldn’t capitalize.”

Brooke won the rebounding battle 29-28 and both teams were guilty of 16 turnovers.

“For the past five games, we’ve given a good effort and we were in the game but we just haven’t been able to finish,” Lombardo said. “Against St. Clairsville, we had a bad third quarter. We talked with the girls today about playing a complete game.

“For the most part, we are a young team and we’re obviously still learning how to win. We’re competitive but we need to turn some of these efforts into wins. It’s a matter of experience and knowing how to pull games like this out. Most of our girls don’t have any experience doing that. I think once we get those first couple of big wins against good teams, they will kind of figure it out.”

Big Red will observe Senior Night Wednesday when John Marshall visits the Crimson Center.

Game notes:

≤ Gulan had six points as Big Red posted a 28-15 victory in the junior varsity contest. Natalie Ryan netted a team-high eight for the Bruins.

Brooke 44, Steubenville 36

Brooke 7-12-16-9 — 44

Steubenville 7-7-18-4 –36

BROOKE (13-7): Fox 3 1-2 8; A. Arca 4 9-14 17; Elliott 0 0-0 0; C. Byers 0 0-0 0; Bowman 4 6-7 14; Edgar 2 0-0 5; J. Arca 0 0-0 0; K. Byers 0 0-0 0; Dodson 0 0-0 0. TOTALS: 13 16-23 44.

STEUBENVILLE (8-13): Ragusa 2 2-2 8; Brown 1 0-0 3; Fields 2 3-4 7; Ferguson 3 0-0 6; Abram 3 2-2 8; Crownover 0 1-2 1; Minniefield 0 0-0 0; Gulan 1 0-0 3; Taylor 0 0-0 0; Marshall 0 0-0 0. TOTALS 12 8-10 36.

3-POINT GOALS: Brooke (Fox, Edgar); Steubenville (Ragusa 2, Brown, Gulan); REBOUNDS: Brooke 29 (Bowman 11); Steubenville 28 (Brown 9, Abram 8); ASSISTS: Brooke 7 (A. Arca 2); Steubenville 8 (Ragusa, Brown 3 each); TURNOVERS: Brooke 16; Steubenville 16.