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St. Clairsville drops tough one in Buckeye 8 Challenge; Park wins

CADIZ – Some losses can be productive ones.

St. Clairsville head coach Ryan Clifford believes Saturday night’s 52-47 reversal to Delaware Hayes falls into that category as the young season moves forward.

Playing for the second time in as many nights, the Pacers, who are located in suburban Columbus and coached by St. Clairsville graduate Adam Vincenzo, scored the final seven points of the game to pull out the victory in the finale of the day-long Buckeye 8 Challenge at Harrison Central High School.

“We will definitely learn more from this than we would have in some 30-point win,” Clifford said. “This was a good game against a quality team in a great event.”

The Red Devils found themselves on the brink of gaining some separation. They were on an 8-0 run that saw them making a concerted effort to establish Avery Henry on the low block. The Ohio State football signee delivered a bevy of post moves and back-to-back buckets to put his team up 43-39 with just under five minutes to play.

After a pair of Hayes free throws, St. C. senior Colin Oberdick pushed it back to four and after the Pacers got a bonus goal from sophomore Jesse Burris, Oberdick responded again, making it a 47-44 reading.

However, the Red Devils didn’t score again.

Hayes got another bucket from Burris and then began taking advantage of the free throw line. It connected eight of 10 chances from the stripe in the fourth. St. Clairsville was also victimized by a couple of turnovers, which were an issue throughout much of the contest.

“Against a good team like (Delaware Hayes), you need maximum concentration,” Clifford said. “I thought our inexperience at times hurt us, but we’ll learn from that and get better.”

Burris, who was named the game’s MVP, scored 22 points to lead everyone.

“This group has been able to find a way to win,” a former Red Devil player and assistant coach Vincenzo, who is in his third season, said. “We’ve got a resilient group.”

Clifford, though disappointed his team dropped to 2-2, was happy for Vincenzo, who is a guy he’s basically watched grow up.

“Losing to Adam makes it a little bit easier (to take) because he’s basically someone who has been in our family,” Clifford said. “He’s a basketball junkie, who deserves all of the success he’s having. I think he started going to the state tournament with us when he was five years old, so he’s definitely been passionate for the sport for a long time.”

The Red Devils, who return to the home boards Tuesday against Indian Creek, were led by Henry’s 15 points. Oberdick finished with 12.

Delaware Hayes did a solid job defensively on St. Clairsville All-Ohioan Ryan McCort. He was limited to just eight points.

Here’s a look at Saturday’s other games:

Harrison Central 46, Steubenville 45

Harrison Central withstood a couple of late Big Red shot attempts as time wound down to pull out the victory in the opening game of the event.

The Huskies welcomed the return of senior Jonathan Vermillion to the lineup. He scored 13 points, including an impressive two-handed dunk in the first half en route to game MVP honors.

Junior Hayden Cassidy hit bonus goals and scored 17 points to lead the Huskies.

Steubenville was led by junior Phaeton Hill’s 18 points, all of which came on shots from behind the arc.

Wheeling Park 83, Union Local 50

The Patriots shot the lights out of the Huskies gymnasium Saturday en route to a convincing victory against the Jets.

Park knocked down 31 field goals, including 14 from behind the 3-point line. Union Local had only 16 field goals in the entire game.

Leading the way for the Patriots (2-3) was Brett Phillips, who poured in 27. However, it was talented freshman Aiden Davis, who was named the game MVP, knocked home seven of those Patriot bonus goals and finished with a career-high 25.

The Jets received a strong effort from junior post D.J. Butts. He scored 28 points.

Dover 62, Linsly 50

The Tornadoes came out of the gates quickly and eventually owned a 15-point lead at halftime on the Cadets.

However, Linsly got within two after three when senior Raef Wykes hit a trey at the buzzer. Dover regrouped to score the first six of the fourth and Linsly couldn’t get any closer.

The Cadets (2-2) were led by senior Caleb Murray, who pumped in 18. Wykes finished with 10.

The Tornadoes received 20 from T.C. Molk, who was named the game’s MVP.

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