STEUBENVILLE - Second-half adjustments to the defense and the intensity level made the difference Wednesday as the Steubenville girls earned a 54-43 victory against Brooke in the Crimson Center.
"Brooke is a scrappy team that likes to get after it," Big Red coach Phil Casinelli said. "They outhustled us in the first half. They got to a lot of loose balls. We didn't play very smart and we didn't match their intensity."
Thanks to a Brittany Bodo hoop at the buzzer, Big Red held a 14-12 lead after the first quarter. The visitors has a 5-0 run to start the second period (freshman Angela Staffileno sparked the rally) and took a 17-14 advantage. Big Red (6-1) then reeled off six straight points and was up 27-20 at halftime.
"We were disappointed with our effort in the first half," Casinelli said. "The coaching staff decided to change things up and move to a zone defensively. We were able to force them to take some outside shots as opposed to taking the ball to the hoop. We got some defensive rebounds, got the ball out in transition and had some better looks at the basket."
Held without a field goal in the first half by the hard-working Bruins (1-5), Emiley Masloski finally got it going late in the third period. She scored the final seven Big Red points of the quarter and the first two of the fourth. Hannah Meyer's conventional three-point play capped a 12-0 run and Big Red coasted home from there.
"She is a good guard, she makes their team go with the ball," Brooke coach Ryan Scherich said of Masloski. "I tried to take her out of the game and make someone else uncomfortable handling the ball and someone else beat us."
Masloski, who finished with 11 points, was one of four Big Red players reaching double figures. Veronica Orellana paced the way with 15. Brittany Bodo contributed 13 and Meyer had 10. Mytia Barker grabbed 11 rebounds for the victors and Meyer collected 10 to record a double-double.
"Emiley is the girl we run our offense through," Casinelli said. "We had three other girls step up and score in double figures. That tells you we have other players who can score. So, we can spread the ball around and get production from other girls, not just one."
Staffileno had a monster game for the Bruins. She took game scoring honors with 22 (including all seven of Brooke's fourth quarter points). She also snared 11 rebounds and rejected five Big Red shots. Michaela Hinerman added seven. Kelsey Welsh hauled in 8 rebounds.
"Angela just needs to keep working hard," Scherich said. "She's going to be alright."
After struggling from the field in the first half, Big Red recovered to go 11 of 21 in the second. For the evening, however, the winners were just 10 of 21 from the line.
As Scherich and his inexperienced Bruins move forward, the first-year coach knows his players need to continue working "on stuff we can control.
"We just suffer from a lack of judgment sometimes, for like 3 seconds," he said. "When that happens, something good always seems to happen for the opponent. That happened to us again and it cost us the game."