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Steubenville Big Red Too Much For Brooke Bruins

Photo by Joe Catullo Steubenville’s Calvin Bickerstaff goes up for a shot as Brooke’s Alex Isinghood defends.

WELLSBURG — Steubenville used its defensive pressure to build an early lead and cruise to an 80-62 win over Brooke on Tuesday.

Brooke’s Dalton Anderson opened the scoring with a jumper from close range. After that, it was all Steubenville.

Big Red scored eight straight points off Bruin turnovers. A bucket in the paint by Calvin Bickerstaff capped a 15-0 run by Mike Haney’s squad. Chase Zimmerman scored 11 of his game-high 16 points in the opening eight minutes, and Big Red led 22-7.

Mel Coleman’s Bruins were guilty of seven first-quarter turnovers. They committed eight additional ballhandling miscues during the second.

Big Red was up, 45-16, at the intermission. The highlight of the second quarter was a nifty dunk by Bickerstaff, who slammed home a pass from Trillyun Jones.

“That was a great start on our part,” Haney said after his club improved to 2-0. “I thought we played very well in the first half. We played together, and we played good team basketball.

“Offensively, as much as we struggled against a zone last week against (Steubenville Catholic), we moved the ball around well and made some better shots. Defensively, we were strong. We played well and we stayed out of foul trouble.”

To their credit, the Bruins never quit and outscored their guests, 36-35, in the second half. Brooke’s trapping zone defense forced Big Red into eight fourth-quarter turnovers.

“Those are things we are supposed to do,” Coleman said of his team’s late effort. “The question is why we didn’t do those things all the way. It could have been because Big Red took us out of our rhythm earlier. Remember, we are playing some young guys (Brooke started two sophomores, two juniors and a senior).

“That’s just the way it is right now. A year from now, it will be a little different. Right now, we have to keep growing and developing.”

“In the second half, we just didn’t play with the same effort, enthusiasm and energy,” Haney said. “We committed too many fouls, and we didn’t take good care of the basketball. Those are things we need to focus on during practice.”

Four other Big Red players joined Zimmerman in double figures. Jones and Zion Sawyer each tallied 14. Bickerstaff and Micah Krause evenly divided 20. The winners drained six 3-pointers — Zimmerman and Michael Rook canning two apiece.

“I always like to see balanced scoring,” Haney said. “We shared the ball well (Tuesday). We did a much job of scoring in transition. We got up and down the court well.”

Nick Brown paced Brooke with 13 points. Cole Sperlazza contributed 12, while Anderson and Alex Lilly had 10 each. Brown, Sperlazza and Anderson all had two swishes from behind the arc for the Bruins.

“I saw a lot of positives tonight,” Coleman said. “We have more spirit, heart and desire than we showed early. As a competitor, you can’t get behind to show those qualities. You have to have them from the start. That’s what I am trying to teach our players.”

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