Big Red blows early lead but bounces back to down Huskies

PUMP FAKE — Steubenville’s Makayla Abram pump fakes with Harrison Central’s Marina Miller guarding her on Monday. (Joe Catullo)

STEUBENVILLE — A good start and finish led to a good result for the Steubenville girls basketball team.

Big Red jumped out to a big lead only to see Harrison Central rally. However, Big Red regrouped and rallied for a 47-42 victory Monday night inside the Crimson Center.

“We got off to a real good start,” Big Red (2-2) head coach Jeff Lombardo said. “We won the first quarter. Our goal is we want to keep teams under 10 in each quarter. We did that in the first quarter, but in the second quarter they scored 17 points, and they were able to get back into the game. It was a dogfight from there.”

The Huskies made Big Red work hard for the win.

“We did,” Harrison Central (2-3) head coach Nick Yourkovich said. “Our slow start killed us. They outhustled us. They outplayed us. They out-everythinged us in the first quarter. They were physical, and we backed down. We were not playing with a lot of energy.

“Then, we settled down and we made a couple of shots, but we are the type of team that cannot rely on its offense for energy. We have to get that from other places.”

Madison Fields finished with a double-double to lead the way for Big Red. She scored a game-high 20 points and grabbed a game-high 10 rebounds. Also, Makayla Abram collected 13 points and eight rebounds.

It was a team effort offensively for Harrison Central, as no player scored in double digits. McKayla Dunkle tallied nine points and nine rebounds, while Sydney Starr and Alexee McAfee each added seven points each.

A basket by Kobey Johnson gave the Huskies a 38-37 lead in the fourth, but Big Red answered with a 7-0 spurt to take a 44-38 advantage. Harrison Central pulled to within 44-42 with 43.8 seconds left, but the Huskies were unable to get any closer the rest of the way.

Big Red raced out to a 17-2 lead in the first quarter before taking a 17-5 lead into the second.

“In the first quarter, we took care of the ball, and we got good looks,” Lombardo said. “We created some turnovers, and we scored off of those turnovers. We have been creating turnovers, but we have been giving the ball right back to the other team.”

Harrison Central committed 28 turnovers on the night, while Big Red had 20.

Two foul shots by Fields gave Big Red a 24-15 lead in the second quarter, but the Huskies scored the next seven points to pull within 24-22. Three points by Anna Taylor in the waning seconds of the quarter gave Big Red a 27-22 lead at halftime.

“In the second quarter, they changed their defense,” Lombardo said. “They started playing more of a pressure defense. We played under control in the first quarter, but we were out of control in the second. Then, we settled down and started taking care of the basketball, and we were able to get a couple of good looks.”

The Huskies continued to play well in the third.

A basket by Britton Positano gave Harrison Central its first lead at 28-27. Fields answered on the other end to regain the lead for Big Red, and it led 33-32 entering the fourth.

“We were not able to stretch the lead out,” Yourkovich said. “Maybe if we got it up to three or made it a two-possession game we could have put more pressure on them. Our defense sparked us.

“Marina Miller and Thea Haney came up big for us in the second quarter when we were in foul trouble. In the third quarter, Audrey Corder and Johnson brought a great amount of energy. They stepped up for us.”

Big Red also got contributions from a lot of players.

“I am really proud of the girls,” Lombardo said. “We played a lot of girls. It may not show up in the scorebook, but we had three or four girls make big plays defensively that kept us in the game when we were in foul trouble.”

Big Red is scheduled to play Wednesday at Brooke.

“Leah Ferguson, our point guard, she only scored two points, but she made a huge impact on the game for us today,” Lombardo said. “In our first couple of games, she was erratic and was not playing under control. She was not playing like she did in our scrimmages. Tonight, she played under control, and she did a great job helping her teammates.”

Harrison Central is scheduled to play Saturday at Fort Frye. The JV game is scheduled to start at 3 p.m.

“They are solid,” Yourkovich said. “They are going to be fundamentally sound. They are going to be strong defensively. Offensively, I’m not sure what they do. Hopefully, we can get a good scouting report in the next three or four days.”

GAME NOTES

¯ Big Red won the JV game, 36-22. Elexis Martin netted a game-high 17 points to lead Big Red, while Samaria Blackwell delivered 10. Haney ended up with eight to lead Harrison Central.

Big Red 47, Harrison Central 42

Harrison Central 5-17-10-10 — 42

Big Red 17-10-6-14 — 47

HARRISON CENTRAL (2-3): Positano 2 0-0 5; Corder 2 0-0 4; Dunkle 3 2-2 9; Johnson 1 0-0 2; Madzia 1 2-4 4; Starr 2 3-7 7; McAfee 1 4-5 7; Haney 1 0-0 2; Miller 1 0-0 2. TOTALS: 14, 11-18:42.

BIG RED (2-2): Gulan 2 0-0 6; Taylor 2 2-4 6; Marshall 0 0-0 0; Ferguson 1 0-1 2; Fields 6 8-10 20; Crownover 0 -0 0; LaRue 0 0 0-0 0; Minniefield 0 0-0 0; Thompson 0 0-0 0; Abram 4 5-8 13. TOTALS: 15, 15-23: 47.

3-POINT GOALS: Harrison Central 3 (Positano, Dunkle, McAfee); Big Red 2 (Gulan). REBOUNDS: Harrison Central 32 (Dunkle 9); Big Red 28 (Fields 10). TURNOVERS: Harrison Central 28; Big Red 20.

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