St. Clairsville head coach Alicia Freeman got her first win of the season as the Lady Devils' defeated Harrison Central Thursday evening on John Jenkins Court, 55-40.
"We knew going into the game that Harrison Central was a very aggressive team," said Freeman. "I thought we handled the pressure very well. We played smart on offense, we were patient and stayed focused."
Carlee Gillespie was the spark for the Red Devils on offense as she lit up the scoreboard in the first quarter, scoring 7 of St. C's 14 points in the frame. On the visitor side of the court, the Huskies put up 7 in the opening stanza.
Carlee Gillespie gets some big air as she splits Harrison Central defenders Katie Ellzy and Jessica Custer. The junior guard lead all scoring with 17 points as the Red Devils posted their first win of the season 55-40 over the visiting Huskies.
"Every game we have spurts where we are not very good on offense," said Harrison Central head coach Nick Yourkovich. "We probably spend more time in practice on shooting than any other team in the valley, but tonight we were not making our shots and not making our foul shots."
The hosts led 30-18 at the intermission but when the Huskies returned to the court in the third quarter, they turned up the heat - pressing the Red Devils and trying to work the ball inside to sophomore Katie Ellzy.
"That is the best we have ever done against the press," said Freeman. "We worked hard and did the little things better, we played good defense, we had some breakdowns but overall, I am proud of the way we handled ourselves."
Gillespie continued to use her long range buckets to pace the Red Devils' as she accounted for all three of the hosts' three-point goals. Freeman's 10-man rotation kept fresh bodies on the floor with five Lady Devils scoring in the third to win the quarter 12-9 and take a 42-27 advantage into the final frame.
"Defensively, we had too many letdowns." said Yourkovich."I emphasize that when the other team is on the floor (offensively), we can not take breaks."
Harrison Central could not overcome the deficit as they equaled the hosts output in the fourth period.
Gillespie finished with 17 points to lead all scoring. Alexis St. Clair put in 14 points with 8 rebounds for the Red Devils. St. Clairsville shot 24 of 46 on action shots and 6 of 12 from the charity stripe with 23 total rebounds.
Ellzy notched another double-double for the Huskies with 13 points and 10 rebounds. Cara Dunfee also netted 13 markers with Jesse Ledger chipping in 9 points, including a pair of treys. Harrison Central netted 13 of 36 from the floor and 10 of 25 from the foul line with 19 team caroms.
Turnovers were fairly even with St. Clairsville giving it back 14 times while Harrison Central committed 15 miscues.
The Huskies fall to 1-3 and will host Martins Ferry while St. Clairsville improves to 1-2 and will host Edison. Both games are on Monday night.
Harrison Central won Thursday's jayvee contest, 45-40.
ST. CLAIRSVILLE (55) - Mick 3, 0-2 6; Skukan 0. 0-0 0; Gillespie 7, 0-0 17; DeFillippo 2, 2-2 6; St. Clair 6, 2-4 14; DelGuzzo 2, 1-2 5; Cenkus 0, 0-0 0; Avila 1, 0-0 2; Moulder 1, 0-0 2; Figura 1, 1-2 3. Totals: 23, 6-12 55. HARRISON CENTRAL (40) - Ledger 2, 3-4 9; Compher 0, 0-2 0; Dodds 0, 2-4 2; Dunfee 4, 3-7 13; Nameth 0, 1-2 1; Ellzy 6, 1-4 13; Custer 1, 0-2 2. Totals 15, 10-25 40.
Three-Point Goals: HARRISON Ledger (2), Dunfee (2). St. C Gillespie (3), Mick.