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John Marshall Defeats St. C.

Photo by Seth Staskey John Marshall’s Abby Blake looks to drive against St. Clairsville’s Maria Vincenzo during the fourth quarter of their game in the inaugural Wheeling Hospital Women’s Health Holiday Classic at Buckeye Local Saturday afternoon.

CONNORVILLE — Brock Melko can’t quite put his finger on it, but he’ll take it for now, anyway.

Once again Saturday afternoon, he watched his John Marshall girls basketball team find a way to get the job done as the Monarchs put the finishing touches on the inaugural Wheeling Hospital Women’s Health Holiday Classic with a hard-earned 52-46 victory against St. Clairsville at Buckeye Local High School.

Though happy with notching the victory, the way in which the Monarchs went about it, which included needing a late run in the first half to take a two-point lead at the break and then finding a way to win without the benefit of a field goal in the fourth quarter, are a bit concerning.

“We’ve mastered the art of playing bad and winning,” Melko said. “This is about the fourth or fifth time this year that we’ve done that. But, when you’re in tough situations, losers make excuses and winners win. So, to the kids’ credit, they’re finding ways to win even when we maybe shouldn’t.”

The win improves the Monarchs to 7-2, while the Red Devils are left searching for answers after a rough post-Christmas week in which they fell twice in less than 48 hours after dropping a decisive verdict at Indian Creek on Thursday.

“We have to learn to keep our intensity up throughout all four quarters,” St. Clairsville coach Stacey Agnew said. “We really picked up the intensity in the last three or so minutes, but we have to learn to play like that for 32 minutes.”

The Monarchs appeared to be well on their way to finishing off the Red Devils with relative ease after a 17-10 third quarter in which JM extended its lead to 41-32 at the final stop.

However, the Red Devils began to turn up the defensive pressure. Rileigh Simpson opened the fourth with a trey and Keri Klinkoski tallied on the next trip, but the Monarchs did what they do and that’s attack the defense and get to the line.

All told, the Monarchs shot 18 free throws in the final quarter, converting 11 of them. One of the newest members of the coveted 1,000-point club Shay Straughn meshed 8-of-10 from the line in that stretch.

“Every game, we put an emphasis on shooting more free throws than our opponents,” Melko said. “The more aggressive team usually gets to the line more. A lot of it was trying to play smart when we had the lead, but half the time we didn’t do that very well.”

The Monarchs accomplished their goal. They knocked down 18-of-32 from the line, while the Red Devils were just 10-of-18.

“We put them on the foul line too much,” Agnew lamented. “It just gets to the point where you’re like, ‘my gosh.’ But, we told the girls (in practice) that their offense is trying to drive it to the bucket and getting fouled. And they’re good at it, too.”

Straughn led the Monarchs with 17 points, while junior Anna Blake finished with 12 and freshman Catherine Hunnell was solid, scoring eight points.

The Red Devils, who return to action Thursday against Martins Ferry, were led by Katie Strama’s 14 and Maria Vincenzo’s 12. Simpson finished with eight.

Madonna Girls Basketball Holiday Shootout

Steubenville Catholic 78, St. John Central 47

WEIRTON — Steubenville Catholic will take a 9-3 record into the new year following a victory over St. John Central in the inaugural Madonna Girls Basketball Holiday Shootout.

Ten players cracked the scoring column for the Crusaders, who won their third game in as many days. Senior standout Julia Zatta led Central with 24 points. She connected six times from behind the arc as the Crusaders finished with 11 3-pointers.

Christine Dombrowski, Central’s other senior stalwart, contributed 14 points Bella Oliver pulled down 10 rebounds as did fellow junior Hannah Olszewski.

Senior dandy Kaylin Nixon, an all-Ohioan as a junior, had her usual big game for the Irish, scoring a team-high 20 points. Fellow senior Shay Horvath netted 12.

Madonna 53, Caldwell 40

WEIRTON — Three Madonna players scored in double figures in a victory over Caldwell.

Jazzlyn Melnyk led the way for the Blue Dons with 17 points while Andrea Alimario had 15 and Gabriella Staffelino totaled 12.

Harman Holiday Tournament

Hundred 51, Morgantown Christian 36

HARMAN — Katherine Henderson tallied a game-high 24 points as Hundred defeated Morgantown Christian.

Freshman Brooke Yoho tallied 10 points for the Hornets.

Regular Season

River 65, Monroe Central 42

HANNIBAL — Lauren Flannery stuffed the stat sheet with 27 points, six rebounds, seven assists and three steals as River defeated Monroe Central.

Carsyn Reynolds tallied 15 points for the Pilots while Riley Lollathin had 11.

Kalista Friday paced the Seminoles with 13 points.

Weir 42, Grafton 24

WEIRTON — Three Weir girls scored in double figures as it secured its first win of the season.

Julia Gianni led the way for the Red Riders with 13 points while Sophia Mikula tallied 12. Isabella Aperfine had 10 points.

BOYS

John Marshall 64, Preston 43

MOUNDSVILLE — Derrick Derrow scored 24 points — a game-high — as John Marshall took down Preston.

Bryce Yoho compiled 14 points for while Adam Miller secured 13 for the Monarchs.

Crooksville 87, Barnesville 79

MARIETTA — Luke Powell scored 41 points, but Barnesville fell to Crooksville.

Tate Dowler was also solid for the Shamrocks as he bucketed 15 points while Aaron Marovich tallied 14.

Union Local 38, Cambridge 29

MORRISTOWN — Union Local allowed one point in the second and fourth quarter as it defeated Cambridge.

Cal Kildow led the way for the Jets with 12 points.

Beaver Local 89, Madonna 62

WEIRTON — Logan Reed tallied 21 points as Beaver Local defeated Madonna. Luke Chetok hit six 3-pointers and finished with 20 points for the Beavers.

Gavin Dietrich led the Blue Dons with 21 points while Brennan Secrist had 11.

Wellsville 58, Oak Glen 51

NEW MANCHESTER — The Oak Glen boys basketball team suffered its first setback of the season.

Ethan Travis led the Golden Bears (7-1) with 13 points. Zach Taylor and Jarrett Gittings each had 10 points.

Luke Green led Wellsville (6-2) with 20 points.

Weir 76, East Fairmont 72, 2OT

WEIRTON — Luca Haught paced Weir with 21 points as Weir defeated East Fairmont in double overtime.

Reed Reitter was also solid for the Red Riders as he tallied 18 points while Sebastian Spencer totaled 15.

Toronto 74, Edison 58

TORONTO — Four Toronto players scored in double figures as it defeated Edison. Lucas Gulczynski tallied a game-high 25 points to pace the Red Knights while Nate Karaffa tallied 16 points.

AJ Clegg and Trillion West both netted 14 points.

Isaac Schmitz paced the Wildcats with 16 points while Andrew Pugh had 12.

Alec McBane rounded out the double figure scorers with 11 points.

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