ST. CLAIRSVILLE - After dropping back-to-back contests last week, the St. Clairsville Red Devils were in a foul mood when they returned to Belmont County.
That didn't bode well for invading Buckeye Local as the Red Devils used one of their patent runs to gain separation just before the end of the first half and cruised to an 83-55 victory on John Jenkins Court before a large crowd.
''I thought our concentration was really good,'' St. Clairsville coach Kim Clifford said. ''I also thought we were extremely efficient on offense.''
PHOTO BY SETH STASKEY
St. Clairsville’s Dan Monteroso drives on Buckeye Local’s Brennan Czuchran.
Without a player standing taller than 6-foot-3, the Red Devils (2-2) again used their athleticism, foot speed, shooting and slashing abilities to close the half on a 18-8 run to take a 48-32 lead into the dressing room.
''When you're really concentrating and thinking next possession, next possession is when you get a run started,'' Clifford said. ''That series of events let us separate and when you get separation, the other team tends to push it to try to get back in it. We had a lot of guys play well.''
During the run, the Red Devils led 30-24 when Dylan Campbell buried a trey, junior Dan Monteroso got a steal and a dunk and then another steal and was grabbed on his way up, which led to an intentional foul call, but he also sank the bucket. In essence, it became a six-point trip.
''One of the things we wanted to do was take charges or at least get in front of people,'' Buckeye Local coach Jay Morris said. ''We never did that, and I think that was a key. If you set the tone early, that you're going to do that, people don't fly down the lane all the time.''
The St. Clairsville offensive onslaught continued in the third quarter. It outscored the Panthers (3-2) 26-12 to build a 30-point cushion entering the fourth quarter.
Monteroso, who led all scorers with 29 points, had nine in the third. Junior Riley Carlton, who was held primarily in check in the first half, scored seven of his 12 points in the third quarter.
''We played two good teams last week and the game Saturday (against Ironton) helped immensely because it focused us in on having to guard everyone,'' Clifford said. ''It was a really, really good trip for us.''
Sandwiched between Monteroso and Carlton's production was junior Jerrid Marhefka. The first team All-Ohio football player finished with 14 points.
''St. Clairsville shoots the ball really well on their home court,'' Morris said. ''We worked on trying to simulate Monteroso and trying to bring guys to help, but it didn't work.''
Buckeye Local failed to produce a double-figure scorer. Caleb Agnew and A.J. Barsch went for nine and eight, respectively to lead the way.
The Red Devils' offensive efficiency is well documented by its eight turnovers. Buckeye Local, meanwhile, was charted for 23 miscues.