Steubenville Catholic Crusaders Take Away Petrisko, Best Steubenville Big Red

STEUBENVILLE — For Steubenville Catholic girls’ coach Jess Looman, it was rather easy — keep the ball out of the hands of Steubenville senior post player Rhiannon Petrisko.

“Our game plan to keep Rhiannon from scoring was to keep a body on her at all times,” Looman said. “We wanted to have somebody in front of her and somebody in back. And, for the most part, it worked pretty well.”

Shayna Mirabella and Isabella Oliver fronted Petrisko and Grace Godich and Brantley Turnage were behind the post player.

The Crusaders (7-2) held Petrisko to 10 points in a 56-43 victory Friday evening inside the Crimson Center.

“She’s a solid player and we knew coming in she was going to be a force inside,” Looman said of Petrisko. “Hats off to ‘Bella and Shayna for staying with her and to Grace and Brantley for knowing where they needed to be to keep her from scoring.

“We saw Big Red play on Wednesday and we knew we had to stop Rhiannon. We have the presence inside to be able to stop somebody — especially someone of her talent — and we were able to do that.”

On the other side, Central senior Gabby Capaldi hurt Big Red offensively.

“Gabby killed us,” Steubenville coach Jeff Lombardo said. “I’m not happy at all with the way we executed defensively. We were chasing instead of jumping to the ball. (Central) girls were setting screens and (our) girls were hugging their man, instead of either busting the cutter or switching. Gabby did that to us coming off a simple curl screen three or four times.

“Gabby got free to hit a big three after Nay (Banks) hit a three.”

Banks’ 3-pointer cut the lead to seven, but Capaldi’s basket brought it back to 10 and Mirabella went 4-for-4 from the free-throw line and Capaldi 7-for-10 in the fourth to ice a victory.

“We shoot a lot of free throws in practice and it was good to see Shayna and Gabby make them in the fourth quarter,” Looman said.

Capaldi finished with a game-high 18 points. Brittany Bertoia added 13 and Mirabella and Turnage each had seven.

Seana Ragusa led Big Red (4-6) with 12 points, nine in the first quarter on a trio of 3-pointers. Steubenville held a 15-11 after eight minutes and CCHS took a 22-20 lead into halftime.

“I like that when we got down, the kids didn’t give up,” Lombardo said. “We had a lineup in there that is not necessarily our offensive lineup, but our defensive lineup where we can put a little bit of pressure on them.

“That group came in and gave us a little bit of momentum — Knisha Saunders had a couple steals and layups — and got us back in the game, but we couldn’t get over the hump.

“Ultimately, the difference was they were getting easier looks than we were.

“Even still, with as poorly as I thought we played, we still had a chance to win. We had some open looks that didn’t go down.

“Give Central credit, they had a good game plan. They worked to shut Rhiannon down and they did a pretty good job of that.”

The Crusaders visit Martins Ferry Tuesday. The Purple Riders beat Central, 54-52, Wednesday in double overtime.

“We’re pretty seasoned — they know what they need to do,” Looman said. “They make it really easy to coach — especially on the offensive side. They know what they need to do.

“We have to keep working on fundamentals — making smarter passes, playing better against pressure defense, knowing when the point guard needs help, or looking into the paint. It’s the small things that can take us to where we want to be.”

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