BELLAIRE - Cross-street rivals Bellaire and St. John Central came into their showdown inside the 'House of Champions' riding different waves of emotion.
St. John Central dropped its opener in overtime to Beallsville, while the Reds came in fresh off a victory against Harrison Central.
None of that mattered Saturday night as St. John Central overcame a one-point first-quarter deficit to coast to a 60-49 victory before a large turnout.
"We were much more prepared to play," Irish coach Bubba Kapral said. "The Beallsville loss the other night is on us because we had no concept what to do up seven, but we practiced well for three days, and we felt like we matched up well with Bellaire."
While the Irish appeared to take multiple steps forward in evening their record at 1-1, Reds coach Marci Bonar was left searching for answers and not long to find them with a Buckeye 8 contest at St. Clairsville on the horizon Monday.
"The problem was we must have decided we're too good to hustle now," Bonar said. "We were flat from the time we came out for warmups. I had to yell (at the girls) during warmups, and I knew right then, that we were in trouble."
It wasn't until the second quarter when the Big Reds (1-2) hit the skids and much that was caused by the Irish, who mixed defenses well between a man-to-man and a newly installed 1-3-1 zone.
Facing a 17-16 deficit, the Irish ran off the next 11 points. Sparking the run was talented sophomore Maclaine Murad, who scored seven of her game-high 23 points in the second quarter.
The Green outscored the Big Reds, 13-4 in the second quarter.