ST. CLAIRSVILLE - St. Clairsville unveiled a banner in its gymnasium honoring last season's Division II state semifinal squad Friday night. By no means did the Red Devils get caught up in the emotion.
Playing for the first time this season after an extended football run, the Red Devils were impressive from the outset and were never challenged en route to a 79-20 victory against Edison on John Jenkins Court.
''I am really pleased with the effort,'' St. C. coach Kim Clifford said. ''I liked our quickness and I thought we played really well together.''
The Red Devils won't have long to enjoy their 1-0 start, however. They're back at it this evening with a much sterner test coming to town in the form of highly regarded Columbus Africentric, a Division IV power that's appeared in the last two state tournaments.
''We're really looking forward to that game,'' Clifford said. ''It'll be good for us to see where we are early in the season, so we'll know where we need to go for the next couple of weeks. It'll be a really good game for us.''
Clifford substituted early and often throughout the contest, playing his first unit a little more than two quarters of actual game time and it appeared in only the first three quarters all told.
''I was pleased with how we did the little things and were in the right places a lot of times,'' Clifford continued. ''Edison struggled, but I was more concerned with how we were doing. We took care of the ball, took good shots and we'll need to do those things all year.''
The Red Devils shot out to a 25-10 lead after one and basically put it on cruise control from that point.
St. Clairsville scored 45 of the game's next 51 points and eventually led 70-18 after three.
Senior standout Dan Monteroso began his assault on the coveted 2,000-point barrier with a 23-point outburst. Included in his scoring were three thunderous dunks.
Monteroso was joined in double figures by senior Adam Jeffries who scored 14 points and had six steals. Riley Carlton finished with 10, five assists and three steals.
Dylan Campbell finished with five bonus baskets for 15. He connected on four straight trips during the third quarter.
Edison, which dropped to 0-5, will also be in action this evening. Something will have to give as the Wildcats play host to winless Bellaire.
''We faced a very well-coached, good team," rookie Wildcats coach Nate Moses said. ''We didn't give up and kept battling. I told the kids the best thing about (Friday) is we play(today). We'll come back and play hard with the same goals in mind against Bellaire. We have to move on because tomorrow is another day.''
Edison was led by Alec Jones, who scored 11 points.