STEUBENVILLE - The Big Red girls basketball team overcame "a lot of different obstacles" in earning a 55-43 victory over Beaver Local Thursday inside the Crimson Center.
Phil Casinelli's now 3-0 club scored the game's first 15 points, hitting six of its initial eight field goal attempts. The Big Red led 19-3 after the opening period and forced the Beavers into 15 turnovers (the visitors were guilty of eight ball-handling miscues during their first nine possessions).
Big Red was ahead 23-10 with 2:47 left in the half when outstanding senior point guard Emiley Masloski went down with a knee injury after driving to the hoop. Masloski, who fought through a similar injury last season before undergoing surgery, had scored eight points, dished out three assists and registered three steals before hitting the deck. There was total silence inside the gym while the training staff tended to the team leader.
GOIND DOWN COURT — Steubenville Big Red senior Mytia Barker dribbles down court during Thursday’s 55-43 victory over Beaver Local inside the Crimson Center.
-- Matthew Peaslee
Following the injury, Beaver Local was able to cut the deficit to nine and trailed by 10 (28-18) at the break.
Big Red opened the third stanza with hoops by Dominque Wilson and Lysiah Rice to make it 32-18. Tannar Dolhun's bucket put the score at 32-20 then Mytia Barker put the hosts back up by 14. From there, Michael Spinella's crew ran off eight in a row. A Barker basket and two Courtney Ricciardi free throws put the score at 36-30 with eight minutes to go.
Sierra Wright's only bucket of the evening (a third pointer from the corner) allowed Beaver Local to get within four at 43-39 midway through the final quarter. Big Red then reeled off eight straight to put the game away. Hannah Masloski, Rice and Barker (she nailed a triple) accounted for the points. Four Barker free tosses finished the scoring.
"You just can't prepare for something like that," Casinelli said about Masloski's injury. "Our girls know how hard she worked to get back. It took us a while to get back into the flow of the game. All the girls who played tonight really stepped up. We overcame a lot of different obstacles - not only Emiley's injury but also foul trouble and got the win."
Barker led Big Red in scoring with 19 (nine coming in the final frame). Rice added 13 while Wilson contributed eight.
"I think Mytia playing last year when Emiley went down was a big factor in how she played tonight," Casinelli pointed out. "She knew what she had to do. It took a while for the girls to come back down. They were all devastated with what they saw.
"Our focus right now is on Emiley but we know she would want our focus to be on preparing for Weir (the Red Riders are due to visit Monday). Besides the injury and the foul troubles, we also had two girls missing because of the school play. It wasn't pretty at times."
Big Red won the rebounding battle 33-28. Rice paced the winners with 15 to complete her double-double. Barker added eight. Barker had four steals (Big Red had 18 as a team). Rice and Wilson recorded three apiece. H. Masloski recorded four assists.
"Lysiah played hard from the minute she got on the court," Casinelli pointed out. "Everyone gave us what we needed. It was a total team effort and we needed that when Emiley went down. We got everyone to contribute."
Spinella agreed with Casinelli's comments on Rice noting, "No. 22 (Rice) had a great game for them. Coming in, we told our girls they needed to be aware of Emiley, Barker and Rice."
"I hope Emiley is OK," Spinella continued. "I know she worked extremely hard to get back. I hope it is not serious and I hope she can overcome it."
Dolhun netted 12 points to pace the Beavers, now 2-2. Jade Favre added 10.
"We had 34 turnovers and a lot of them came in the first four or five minutes. That was the difference," Spinella said. "We told the kids Tuesday and Wednesday that we needed to get off to a good start and we didn't do that.
"To their credit, they came back and got to within four. We battled back. We needed to get to the line more since we had a height advantage. That's the game, however, it's high school ball. We were 3-19 last year and 2-2 so far this season, the program is going in the right direction."
Beaver Local did shoot 20 free throws, converting 12. Dana Talbott, Raveena Cianni and Favre grabbed six rebounds each.
"I was happy with our man to man defense," Spinella stated. "That got us back into the game mentally and emotionally. We are young team with only two seniors. It was a learning experience and I look forward to the rest of the season."
Beaver Local will host East Liverpool Monday.
Big Red 55, Beaver Local 43
Beaver Local 3 15 12 13 - 43
Big Red 19 9 8 19 - 55
BEAVER LOCAL (2-2): Talbott 1 0-0 2; Wright 1 0-0 3; Dolhun 5 2-5 12; Cianni 2 2-2 6; Ketchum 0 3-6 3; Ricciardi 2 3-4 7; Favre 4 2-4 10; Theis 0 0-0 0. TOTALS: 15 12-20-43. 3-pointers: Wright; Rebounds: 28 (Talbott, Cianni, Favre 6); Turnovers: 34,
BIG RED (3-0): E. Masloski 3 2-2 8; H. Masloski 2 1-2 5; Young 0 0-0 0; T. Barker 1 0-0 2; Wilson 4 0-1 8; M. Barker 6 6-7 19; Rice 6 1-2 13; Herrin 0 0-0 0. TOTALS: 22 10-14 55. 3-pointers: M. Barker; Rebounds: 33 (Rice 15, M. Barker 8); Turnovers: 24.