ST. CLAIRSVILLE - Thanks to a near perfect opening half, Big Red easily passed its initial test in Division II sectional play Friday.
Mike Haney's club knocked down 22 of its first 35 shots (19 field goals came off assists) and recorded 14 steals as it raced to a 49-19 advantage at the break. The quick start allowed Big Red to easily dispatch Warsaw River View 83-43.
The victory inside the Health and Physical Education Building at Ohio University's Eastern Campus was Big Red's 19th in 22 outings. Seeded third in the tournament, Big Red now will meet Tusky Valley at 8 p.m. Wednesday.
"I'm definitely happy with this win and our quick start," Haney said. "Every game is important now; it's lose and go home time. There are no records out here anymore and the seeds don't matter. You just have to be ready to go."
Freshman Charles Reeves was a perfect eight for eight (16 points) from the floor during the opening half assault. Junior Lucas Herrington accounted for 10 and senior Adam Sterling had nine. Herrington dished out six assists while senior Brandon Herring-Hill was credited with six steals.
Big Red shot 10 for 17 from the floor in grabbing a 22-13 lead after one. Reeves had 10 of his 16 during the initial eight minutes. A Sterling jumper gave the boys from Steubenville the lead for good at 9-7. The 30-point halftime margin came following an 11-0 Red scoring burst.
Big Red 83, River View 43
R.V. 13 6 8 16 - 43
Big Red 22 27 18 16 - 83
RIVER VIEW (4-19): Gossman 1 2-2 4; Brillhart 5 2-2 14; Watson 0 0-0 0; Miller 9 4-6 21; Zec 0 0-0 0; Dart 2 0-2 4; Parsons 0 0-0 0. TOTALS: 16 8-12 43. 3-pointers: Brillhart 2; Miller; Rebounds: 20 (Miller 6); Turnovers 28.
BIG RED (19-3): Herring-Hill 0 0-2 0; Prentice 1 0-0 2; Wolfe 1 0-0 3; Collaros 3 0-0 8; Herrington 6 0-0 15; Reeves 8 0-0 16; Bougard 3 1-2 8; Sterling 6 0-0 15; D. Smith 2 0-0 4; C. Smith 1 0-0 2; Williams 3 0-0 6; Thomas-Miller 2 0-0 4. TOTALS: 36 1-4 83. 3-pointers: Herrington 3, Sterling 3, Collaros 2, Bougard, Wolfe; Rebounds: 26 (Bougard 5, D. Smith 5); Turnovers 11; Steals 22 (Herring-Hill 6); Assists 30 (Herrington 7).
"We shot it pretty well during the first half," Haney added. "Plus, I thought in our full-court defense and press, we caused a lot of turnovers and got some points off them. I was a little disappointed in our half-court defense. We gave us some back-door cuts and they got some easy buckets on us. We just didn't play good team defense in the half-court setting early on.
"Lucas (Herrington) did a great job of hitting the three (the junior had two trifectas in the initial stanza) and he has some nice passes inside to Charles (Reeves), who seemed to find some nice little holes in the paint."
Reeves' 16 points led the Big Red scoring parade. Herrington and Sterling (he had three triples as well as a slam following a first quarter steal) evenly divided 30. Senior Khaliq Bougard and sophomore Dimitri Collaros each contributed eight. In all, 11 players scored for the Red as Haney began emptying his bench early.
The winners finished with 30 assists and 22 steals. Big Red went to the line just four times, making one but it did knock down 10 shots from behind the arc.
Senior Corey Miller had 21 points in his final game for the Black Bears. Matt Brillhart delivered 14, 12 coming in the final period.
Haney called Tusky Valley a "fundamentally sound" club.
"Coach Steve Franks does a nice job with that program," the Big Red leader noted. "They are fundamentally sound. They can shoot the three and run a good half-court offense. In addition, they play solid defense. We'll have to be ready."