ST. CLAIRSVILLE - In the five-year history of the Wheeling Hospital OVAC Boys' Basketball Championship, St. Clairsville has become a common entrant.
However, Coach Kim Clifford and his 3-point shooting Red Devils hope Saturday's trip to Ohio University Eastern goes better than their first three.
After fending off a valiant comeback by Steubenville, the Red Devils advanced to the Class 4A title game at 5:45 p.m. on Saturday by virtue of a 64-58 victory.
"We've been (to the final) quite a few times and hopefully, we can get it done this time," Clifford said. "But, like I've said every time we've been there, it's not about me. It's about these kids and this team. If we get it done, great, but if not, I'll take the blame."
The Red Devils will face East Liverpool, which advanced by taking out Harrison Central in the other 4A semifinal.
"We're happy to be in that game and we know East Liverpool is a quality team," Clifford said. "This is what it should be about. It's about two teams, who traditionally don't play each other, that have led the standings most of the year. We expect it will be a great atmosphere."
Before any focus could shift to the Potters, the Red Devils had quite a challenge in Big Red.
St. C. came out from the opening tip and as Clifford referenced it, "blitzed" Steubenville, outscoring Big Red, 32-16 in the opening stanza.
During the quarter, the Red Devils hit five 3-pointers and got scoring from five different players, including 10 from junior standout Dan Monteroso.
"I thought our effort was there early, but we just gave a team that can shoot too many good looks," Steubenville coach Mike Haney said. "They're a good shooters and they made us pay."
The Red Devils went into the halftime break with a comfortable 45-27 lead but Big Red wasn't finished yet.
Steubenville took advantage of back-to-back turnovers to begin the third quarter and eventually scored the first six points of the period. All told, Big Red outscored the Red Devils, 16-7, in the third to make it a 52-43 score after three.
Riley Carton finished with 17 points for the winners.
Big Red was led by Periogn West, who had 16 points. Richmond added 14 points and nine rebounds. Dylan Snyder came off the bench to net 11 points.