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Creek Pulls Away From St. Clairsville

WINTERSVILLE — The Indian Creek girls basketball team managed to swat away pesky St. Clairsville en route to its 20th victory of the season.

A fourth-quarter spurt enabled the Redskins to build a double-digit advantage against the Red Devils, and they went on to win the game, 56-46, Monday night.

St. Clairsville (12-10) was a thorn in Indian Creek’s side for the majority of the night. The Red Devils led by three at the end of the first, and they trailed by just one in the third before a Redskins’ run temporarily gave them some breathing room.

“(St. Clairsville coach) Stacey (Agnew) does a real good job,” Indian Creek (20-1) coach Steve Eft said. “We knew coming in they were going to be well prepared and that it was going to be a really tough game. We came out flat, and they were able to gain a little momentum. They played well. They battled. That is a credit to their coaching staff.”

The Red Devils were down by three points early in the fourth, but the Redskins responded and ripped off a 14-5 run to build their largest lead of the game at 12 points (53-41).

“I told the kids they just had a late-game spurt,” Agnew said. “I thought we were going to have one.

“We talked all week. We have not played a full four quarters. This is the best we have played all year. We were able to control the pace. We moved the ball. I am not a zone guy, but that is what we have got to do right now.”

The biggest difference in the game was inside, as the Redskins dominated the paint. They outrebounded St. Clairsville, 32-13, and the home team’s post player combination of Taylor Jones and Makenzie Taylor combined to score 26 points, while pulling down 14 rebounds. The victors also got a big lift from Hailey Clark, who collected nine rebounds and seven assists.

Jones scored a team-high 16 points and grabbed a game-high nine rebounds, while Taylor tallied 10 points and five rebounds. Also, sharpshooter Kylie Kiger collected 12 points to lead the way in the backcourt.

“We talked at the half about pounding the ball inside,” Eft said. “We have three good post players who can score. We emphasized getting the ball inside. We also wanted to attack the offensive glass. We started attacking the glass, getting rebounds and scoring on putbacks.”

Macy Malin tallied a game-high 17 points to go along with four rebounds for St. Clairsville. Alexis Thoburn contributed eight points and four rebounds to help the Red Devils’ cause.

“We scouted them,” Eft said. “We expected them to play a box-and-1 and to press us to slow us down, and they did that. We expected them to play a 2-3, and they did that. They did a really-good job. Our ball movement was not as good as it has been in some of our other games. I am proud of the girls. They were able to grind out the victory.”

The Red Devils made a last-ditch effort to get back into the game late in the fourth quarter, but the Redskins rose to the challenge and kept St.Clairsville at bay.

After a close opening frame, the second quarter belonged to the Redskins. They outscored St. Clairsville, 15-7, to take a 26-21 lead into the locker room at halftime. The victors led by as many as seven points in the quarter.

“I thought defensively we played well,” Agnew said. “We wanted to stay out on Kiger. She was able to penetrate a couple of times and score, and that hurt us. Their bigs are skilled passers. We talked to the girls at halftime about them running the lob, and they did it to us twice. They are kids.”

The Redskins opened the second half with a lob to Taylor, who scored to make it 28-21. Another Indian Creek basket made it a nine-point game, and it looked like the home team was going to pull away. However, the Red Devils were able to right the ship and pulled back to within one point at 32-31. Both teams ended up scoring 11 points in the quarter, as the winners took a 37-32 lead into the fourth quarter.

Jones and Taylor played key roles in Indian Creek gaining control of the game in the fourth.

“They had a nice run, but we were able to come back and extend the lead,” Eft said. “They fought until the end. They played hard the whole time.”

The Redskins entered the game coming off of a 46-42 victory in overtime against Wheeling Park in the OVAC Wheeling Hospital Class 5A championship game Saturday afternoon.

“The girls played a really hard game Saturday,” Eft said. “The girls were really excited about the win. I am not making any excuses. St. Clairsville is a good team. I was happy to see us battle tonight and come away with the win.”

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“We did not set a number of wins we would like to achieve,” Eft said. “We didn’t talk about wins and losses. We just want to get better every game. We just wanted to be playing our best basketball at the end of the season, and I think we are doing that.

“Winning 20 games is a great achievement. It is a testament to our kids. They put a lot of work in. They have put a lot of time in. I am happy for them. I just us to keep it going.”

St. Clairsville: Hosts Beaver Local at 7 p.m. Feb. 19 in a Division II Eastern District sectional semifinal. The Red Devils are the No. 10 seed, while the Beavers are 11th.

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