ATHENS - Every good basketball team needs that player who can provide a lift off the bench.
St. Clairsville has a pretty good one.
With Chillicothe trying every defense imaginable against Red Devils' standout Dan Monteroso Thursday night in the first half of their Division II Regional semifinal inside Ohio University's Convocation Center, St. C. needed a spark to get it going.
Enter Dylan Campbell.
The sweet-shooting 6-1 junior tickled the twine four times from beyond the three-point arc for half of his team's points in the first half as the Red Devils led 24-18 en route to a 59-52 conquest of the Cavaliers.
"That's kind of the way our season has gone," veteran St. Clairsville head coach Kim Clifford allowed. "You can look back and say, 'remember when so and so hit those two big shots against so and so.'
"Tonight it was Dylan. We knew the big kid (6-8 Cleveland State recruit Malik London) was going hang (in the paint) and Dylan is a really, really good shooter," Clifford added. "He just hasn't had the chances the other guys have, but what a clutch performance."
Most players with the potential of Campbell could sit on the bench and sulk about his playing time, or lack of it, but not Campbell.
"I honestly love my job," he admitted.
Once a shooter of Campbell's ability gets going, he's tough to stop.
"We really work hard on our three-point shooting every day in practice," he said. "We have a contest at the end of every practice. It seems like when I hit one in the game, I hit a couple of more after that. I get in a rhythm."
That's a rhythm that Clifford hopes continues at least for one more game, that being Saturday afternoon's Regional Final against New Philadelphia, which outlasted Waverly 50-48 in the nightcap.
With the four bonus bombs, Campbell has now drained 30 on the season.
And if providing the offensive spark off the bench, Campbell was also called upon to spell Joel Giffin in the middle against the 6-8 Malik London.
"He was tough and he was long," Campbell allowed.
Local Flavor on P.A.
St. Clairsville fans had to be shaking their heads Thursday night when Dan Monteroso drained a three-pointer and the public address announcer said, 'Monteroso hits a three from the deli at Riesbeck's.'
Then, after Campbell buried a triple, they heard 'Campbell hits one from Kirkwood Heights.'
That's because the PA announcer was none other than Lou Horvath, a Bellaire High School graduate.
Horvath also announced at halftime that the Kelly Rine (St. C. Athletic Director) Polka Dance for last night was postponed until Friday night.
For more on Horvath, see Saturday's edition of The Times Leader.
Mini Reunion of Sorts
It may have been Athens, but there were at least four Salem College graduates in attendance, including yours truly.
The others included St. Clairsville assistant football coach Bruce Stiles, a Union Local graduate, and a pair of former Waverly Tiger standouts in John Knight and Bob Holsinger.
We all had a few minutes to reminisce during halftime of the St. Clairsville-Chillicothe game.
North can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org