St. C.’s Stiles Wins Coaching Debut

BARNESVILLE – The Bruce Stiles era of St. Clairsville girls’ basketball opened in grand fashion Saturday evening.

However, it wasn’t without its moments of trepidation.

The Red Devils opened their season with a hard-earned 72-52 victory against homestanding Barnesville thanks to a furious second half in which they sped the game up and created all sorts of havoc with their full-court pressure.

”It’s nice to win the first one,” Stiles said. ”Especially when you come over here, which is a tough place to play against a good team and a good program. We’ve got a long way to go now and we need to continue to improve.”

The Red Devils – who expect to see a lot of zone defense this season – struggled mightily in the first half to get into an offensive rhythm and the result was the Shamrocks holding a 35-26 lead at the intermission.

But, Stiles didn’t hit any panic buttons or explode on his club at the intermission.

”We just tried to tell the girls to take better care of the ball and force them into the up-tempo game we wanted,” Stiles said. ”We talked at halftime about getting rebounds and not letting them take advantage of things.”

St. Clairsville came out in the third quarter and established its transition game and also got senior inside ace Brooke Cenkus into the contest. The Shamrocks’ collapsing zone held her to six points in the first 16 minutes.

However, when the Red Devils made their charge in the third quarter, which included a 16-2 run, Cenkus was right in the middle of it, scoring eight of her team-high 20 during the spurt.

”We can’t make any excuses,” Barnesville coach Jamie Carpenter said. ”They wanted it more than we did. They outworked us and they wore us down in the second half.”

St. Clairsville grabbed its first lead of the contest at the 2:12 mark of the third period and never looked back, owning a 44-40 upperhand after three.

Barnesville got within one when Heidi Hines – who led the Shamrocks with 20 points – meshed a triple from the left wing. But, from there, St. Clairsville scored 13 of the next 15 to put the game almost seemingly out of reach at 57-45. The Shamrocks got no closer than nine the rest of the way.

Cenkus’ production was complemented by senior Jaclyn Dutton. Ohio’s all-time leading goal scorer in soccer netted 10 points and had a half dozen steals. Sophomore Jesse Machovina provided a spark off the bench, scoring 10 points. Junior Ashley Gordon was also solid off the bench with nine points.

Monroe Central 53 River 42

HANNIBAL – Alex Kuhn scored 15 points and Whitney Marshall pulled down a double-double with 12 points and 11 rebounds as Monroe Central won its season opener with a victory against homestanding River.

The Pilots were paced by Jordan Ramsely with 14 points and Autumn Biesel with 10.