STEUBENVILLE - Mytia Barker did it all for the Big Red girls in Thursday's 58-15 victory over Catholic Central inside the Mickey Barber Gymnasium.
The senior recorded a double-double (24 points and 10 rebounds) and dished out two assists as Phil Casinelli's club, which earlier in the day received good news regarding standout Emiley Masloski, improved to 5-0.
"Mytia got good news this morning that Emiley will be back," Casinelli said. "She realized she could relax and play basketball. She is a great player and we are fortunate to have her. She showed her ability to score tonight."
Barker sparked a 9-0 Big Red run to end the first quarter with a pair of triples (she finished with four three-pointers). The Red led 14-4 after one and 36-10 at the intermission. Barker netted 17 of her game-high point total during the opening 16 minutes.
Emiley Masloski, Big Red's senior floor general, re-injured her knee (she had major off-season surgery but fought her way back) in last week's Beaver Local game. On Thursday, she learned the injury will not be career-ending. She should return to the Big Red line-up in mid-January (possibly on Jan. 13 when Big Red entertains Central).
"Everyone connected with Big Red athletics was excited to hear that news, most certainly the girls," Casinelli pointed out. "They have spent a lot of time together since the fifth or sixth grade. They know how bad Emiley wants to be part of this team. It's easy for them now to get out there, get after it and hold the fort down for her."
Big Red 58, Catholic Central 15
Big Red 14 22 913-58
Central4 6 3 2-15
BIG RED (5-0): Porter 0 0-0 0; H. Masloski 2 3-5 7; Young 4 1-4 10; T. Barker 1 0-0 2; Wilson 2 0-0 4; M. Barker 7 6-10 24; Rice 3 2-4 8; Bodo 1 1-2 3; Herrin 0 0-0 0. TOTALS: 20 13-25 58. 3-pointers: M. Barker 4, Young. Rebounds: 30 (Barker 10); Turnovers: 10.
CENTRAL (2-5): Parkinson 2 1-2 6; Hunt 1 1-1 3; Torrance 0 0-0 0; Renee Dziewatkoski 1 0-0 2; M. Mirabella 0 0-0 0; McComb 0 0-2 0; Virtue 1 0-0 2; Rachel Dziewatkoski 0 0-0 0; S. Mirabella 1 0-0 2; Bertoia 0 0-2 0; Capaldi 0 0-0 0; Simmons 0 0-0 0; Stevens 0 0-0 0; Mastroianni 0 0-0 0. TOTALS: 6 2-7 15. 3-pointers: Parkinson; Rebounds: 31 (McComb 9); Turnovers: 30.
Taylor Young added 10 for Big Red, which travels to Youngstown East tonight, and Lysiah Rice had eight.
Big Red's press caused major problems for the Crusaders, now 2-5. Central finished with 30 turnovers.
"Our press was effective tonight," Casinelli added. "Our girls really rotated well on the flight of the ball and caused a lot of turnovers (Big Red was credited with 14 steals). That really got us going.
"Taylor (Young), Brittany (Bodo) and Dominque (Wilson) all did a great job of rotating defensively and getting out in transition. We were able to get some easy baskets."
Wilson and Hannah Masloski had four steals each. H. Masloski also recorded four assists.
"That was the first time this season we've had that many turnovers," said Central coach Tom Winland. "Normally we stay in the mid-teens. It was just one of those nights.
"We can't just go through the motions. We have to come out, fight hard and handle adversity. We didn't do that."
Miranda Parkinson had six points to pace Central. Alex McComb hauled down nine rebounds.
"We have to get smarter in our decision-making," Winland added. "We have a long way to go."
The Crusaders are scheduled to visit Wheeling Park Saturday.
Before the game, Winland and his two seniors (M. Mirabella and Renee Dziewatkoski) made a presentation to the parents of Amanda Looman, the Catholic Central graduate who died recently from injuries sustained in a car accident.
The Crusader girls are wearing special warm-up shirts in memory of Looman. Her parents each received one of the shirts.