ST. CLAIRSVILLE - It was finished early Wednesday night at Ohio University Eastern. Top-seeded St. Clairsville scored the first 21 points and never looked back en route to a 84-50 victory against Edison in Division II sectional play.
For the Red Devils (20-2) it's the first step in what they hope will be another extended postseason run.
''I am really pleased with how we came out and our guys understand that it's the tournament and you have to play,'' St. C. coach Kim Clifford said. ''I was happy with our focus and the fact that we weren't too on edge or anything.''
It was St. Clairsville's first game since claiming the OVAC Class 4A title on the very same floor inside the Health and Physical Education Center earlier this month. The wait for their next game won't be nearly as long as the Red Devils return to OUE for a 1 p.m. Saturday tip against Steubenville, which dispatched Minerva in the nightcap.
''We were a very, very fatigued team at the end of the season,'' Clifford said. ''But, it's a tribute to our kids and how they sucked it up at the end of the season. We've re-fueled and hopefully, we can carry it on a little further.''
St. C. saw four of their five starters dent the scoring column during the game's opening spurt and were never challenged by a Wildcats squad that finishes 2-21.
''We knew what we were getting into coming down here,'' Edison coach Nate Moses said. ''Playing against a state-ranked, well-coached, senior-dominated team, we knew what we were up against.''
Senior Riley Carlton showed no ill effects from a knee injury suffered late in the regular season as he scored 10 of his 17 in the opening quarter.
The Red Devils took a 48-18 lead into the dressing room as senior Dan Monteroso asserted himself in the second quarter, scoring 14 of his 26. He had a double-double in the first half and finished with 17 boards to go along with his scoring production.
Clifford sent his starting back to the floor to begin the second half and took it out for good with less than four minutes showing on the third-quarter clock.
''I wanted to make sure we got plenty of playing time, but thankfully we got out of this free from injury,'' Clifford said. ''You're always walking a tight rope in this type of situation, but we talk about getting better, whether it's in practice, a game or whatever, and I just thought we got better.''
Dylan Campbell came off the bench to net 10 for the Red Devils.
Edison was led by Alec Jones and Skylar Wilken, who evenly divided 24 points. J.D Howell closed with eight.