STEUBENVILLE - Though he's been away from the game for the majority of the past nine years, Shadyside girls basketball coach Jim Miller hasn't lost his post game sense of humor.
The Tigers opened the 2013 season on Steubenville's Crimson Court on Monday.
"The Celtics were busy, so we played Steubenville," Miller said, sarcastically.
Steubenville forced four turnovers in the first two minutes and led by 15 points after the first quarter en route to a 60-46 victory over the Tigers.
"Everybody was nervous, anxious, excited - all those things bundled up into one," said Steubenville coach Phil Casinelli. "It was nice to get a win to start the season off."
In her first game since sustaining a knee injury during last season, Emiley Masloski led all scorers with 20 points, while adding four rebounds and two steals.
"It felt great being out there with my teammates," Masloski said. "I realized it around the first of October. Going in after my surgery in April, my mindset the whole time was being ready for the first game."
She missed the entire summer of games and practices, but was still a part of the team. In fact, her observations from the sidelines helped herself and the team grow.
Big Red took a 38-20 lead into halftime.
"Early on we forced a lot of turnovers," Casinelli said as Steubenville created 14 in the first 16 minutes and 24 for the game. "Then in the second half we let them get back into it because we weren't making shots. They drove the lane and had some big shots."
In the second quarter, Big Red (1-0) shot just 3 of 22 from the field. In the third quarter, it made just 3 of 15.
"We slowed the game down a little bit and zoned them to cause a little bit of trouble," Miller said.
The Tigers (0-1) were able to claw back with a 19-point third quarter. Early in the fourth, they closed the gap to 49-40 when Kenzie Fielding hit a 3-pointer.
"We had some kids dig in and realize we can play this game a little bit against the talented group that Steubenville has," Miller said. "They have a really nice team."
Back to back steals and cross court lay ups by Hannah Masloski and Lysiah Rice built the Steubenville lead back up to double digits. Then, Emily Masloski's 3-pointer on the right wing, with an assist to Hannah, put Big Red up 56-42 with just over four minutes remaining.
Steubenville outrebounded Shadyside, 26-16. Rice grabbed seven rebounds, Dominique added six and Mytia Barker brought down five.
"I was really pleased with the fact we were getting after it on the glass," Casinelli said. "That was not an issue, even though we're small. I loved their aggressiveness on the boards."
Barker scored 11 points and Wilson had five. Off the bench, Rice scored 16, Hannah Masloski had two points with two steals and four assists and Abby Taylor hits a 3-pointer near the buzzer that ended the first quarter.
"We have eight girls that play," Casinelli said. "Our starters will change and the bench will change because we have the luxury to be able to have those eight girls and basically mix them in.
"You never know who is going to stand out each night."
Toni Andes led the Tigers with 13 points, three rebounds and two steals. Logan Johnson scored 12 points and Fielding finished with 10.
"You can't believe how much we closed the gap over the summer," said Miller. "If we would've played this game over the summer we probably wouldn't have scored and had 40-some turnovers.
"I think we're going to be okay down the road."