The St. John Central girls did it with defense Saturday evening.
Turning up the half-court defense, the Lady Irish scored the first 13 points of the fourth quarter and went on for a 59-50 victory against cross-street rival Bellaire Saturday evening.
The win improves the Lady Irish to 2-1. They've now won two straight since a season-opening setback at Linsly.
T-L Photo/SETH STASKEY
BELLAIRE’S Dallas Messenger goes up for a shot during the first quarter of Saturday’s game against St. John Central. The Lady Big Reds fell, 59-50.
"We're young and getting better each time out," said Lady Irish head coach Bubba Kapral. "We just didn't show up at Linsly, but we played Beallsville well and we felt confident coming in here tonight. We played really good half-court defense."
Bellaire, which led by three at the end of the third chapter, dips to 1-2 with the loss. The Lady Reds have dropped two straight since opening the season with an impressive victory at Buckeye Local.
However, Lady Reds' head coach Marci Bonar was quite pleased with the effort and grit her team showed as it clawed back to as close as seven three times in the fourth after the Lady Irish run.
"I feel for our girls tonight because they really left everything on the floor," Bonar said. "We made a couple of mental mistakes with fouling and we had a bunch of turnovers again, but I can't question their heart. I am proud of how this team never gives up."
The game was a back-and-forth contest throughout. Neither team had a lead bigger than four until the fourth quarter.
In that final stanza, St. John not only turned up its defense, but it went to its senior leader, Kristen Russell, who had been held primarily in check until that point.
Struggling to get her offense going, Russell had been limited to five points in the first three quarters. However, she scored 13 in the fourth, including a stretch of six straight in the spurt, which wasn't stopped until Bellaire got a bucket from Cari Crozier at the 3:06 mark of the fourth.
Freshman post Lindsey Froehlich, who came up big on the boards, scored five of her 13 in the fourth.
Through the first three quarters, talented freshman point guard Marissa Rose scored 21 of her game-high 22 points.
"(Marissa) played really well," Kapral said. "Our post (Froelich) has played real well the last two games and I thought Kaydie Coppa and Morgan DeLuca did much of the dirty work for us. Plus, Kristen came up huge down the stretch. It's a nice bunch and this was a gritty win."
Bellaire was led by Myleah Green, who netted 12 before fouling out. Crozier donated 11. Frosh Nina Crook came off the bench to score nine.
The Lady Irish return to action Wednesday at home against Steubenville Central. Bellaire is back at it on Monday against arch-rival Martins Ferry.
No reserve game was contested.
ST. JOHN (59) - DeLuca 1, 0-1 2; Russell 5, 8-14 18; Rose 6, 10-15 22; Coppa 2, 0-0 4; Froehlich 4, 5-7 13; Sliva 0, 0-0 0; Alvey 0, 0-0 0; Totals: 18, 23-37 59. BELLAIRE (50) - Garloch 1, 0-0 2; Kidder 2, 1-3 7; Messenger 1, 1-2 3; Crozier 4, 3-7 11; Ryan 1, 0-0 2; Crook 4, 1-2 9; Green 5, 2-2 12; Gillespie 1, 0-0 2; Totals: 19, 8-16 50.
Three-Point Goals: SJC - None. B - Kidder (2), Crozier (2).