ST. CLAIRSVILLE - It was over early Wednesday evening at Ohio University-Eastern.
Top-seeded St. Clairsville scored the first 21 points and never looked back en route to a 84-50 victory against Edison in Division II sectional play.
For the Red Devils, who are now 20-2 on the season, it's the first step in what they hope will be another extended post-season run in Division II this March.
ST. C.’S Joel Giffin drives baseline during Wednesday’s Division II?sectional game against Edison Wednesday evening. The Red Devils rolled to a 84-50 victory.
"I am really pleased with how we came out. Our guys understand that it's the tournament and you have to play," said St. C. head coach Kim Clifford. "I was happy with our focus and the fact that we weren't too on edge or anything."
It was St. Clairsville's first game since claiming the OVAC Class 4A title on the very same floor inside the Health and Physical Education Center earlier this month. The wait for their next game won't be nearly as long.
The Red Devils will return to OUE Saturday for a 1 p.m. tip against Steubenville Big Red which dispatched Minerva in Wednesday's nightcap.
"We were a very, very fatigued team at the end of the season," Clifford said. "But, it's a tribute to our kids and how they sucked it up at the end of the season. We've re-fueled and hopefully, we can carry it on a little further."
The Red Devils saw four of their five starters dent the scoring column during the game's opening spurt and were never challenged by a Wildcats' squad, which finished the season at 2-21.
"We knew what we were getting into coming down here," said Edison head coach Nate Moses. "Playing against a state-ranked, well-coached, senior-dominated team, we knew what we were up against."
Senior Riley Carlton showed no ill effects from a knee injury he suffered late in the regular season as he scored 10 of his 17 in the opening chapter.
"After a while, we really didn't have to worry about winning the game, but we did have to worry about executing," Clifford said.
"I was afraid that were going to be lax, and we weren't, which is a key for us in getting better."
The Red Devils took a 48-18 lead into the dressing room for intermission as senior Dan Monteroso, who was named Division II Eastern District Player of the Year for the second straight season, asserted himself in the second quarter, scoring 14 of his 26. He had a double-double in the first half and finished with 17 boards to go along with his scoring production.
Clifford sent his starting unit back to the floor to begin the second half and took them out for good with just under four minutes showing on the third-quarter clock with the game well in hand.
"I wanted to make sure we got plenty of playing time, but thankfully we got out of this free from injury," Clifford continued. "You're always walking a tight rope in this type of situation, but we talk about getting better, whether it's in practice, a game or whatever, and I just thought we got better tonight."
Monteroso and Carlton led the way in the scoring column for the Red Devils. Dylan Campbell came off the bench to net 10. Seniors Adam Jeffries and Jerrid Marhefka turned in nine and seven points, respectively. Senior Zach Keylor also went for seven points.
Edison, which battled to the final horn, was led by Alec Jones and Skylar Wilken, who evenly divided 24 points. J.D. Howell closed with eight.
"One positive we're going to take from this season is the fact that we never stopped playing hard," Moses said. "I feel bad for our three seniors. But, for the kids coming back, we're going to take the effort we played with and use it as a building block. We're looking forward to next season as we continue to try to build this program and not just a team."
St. Clairsville was charted for just six turnovers, which was 11 fewer than the Wildcats.
EDISON (50) - Kramarich 0, 0-0 0; A. Jones 4, 2-2 12; Howell 3, 2-2 8; D. Jones 1, 0-0 3; Lee 3, 1-2 7; Allese 2, 0-0 4; Hyndman 1, 0-0 2; Wilken 4, 2-2 12; Horan 0, 0-0 0; Fonow 0, 0-0 0; Woika 1, 0-0 2; Schmidt 0, 0-0 0; Totals: 19, 7-8 50. ST. CLAIRSVILLE (84) - Marhefka 3, 1-2 7; Jeffries 4, 0-0 9; Monteroso 11, 3-3 26; Carlton 7, 1-1 17; Giffin 0, 0-0 0; Campbell 3, 2-2 10; Burghy 0, 0-0 0; Keylor 2, 2-2 7; Derosa 1, 1-1 3; Trouten 1, 0-0 2; M. Monteroso 1, 0-0 2; Coleman 0, 0-0 0; Panepucci 0, 0-0 0; Hothem 0, 1-2 1; Totals: 33, 8-12 84.
Three-Point Goals: A. Jones (2), D. Jones, Wilken (2). St. C. - Monteroso, Campbell (2), Carlton (2), Jeffries, Keylor.
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