MARTINS FERRY - Following Wednesday night's heartbreaking loss to Bridgeport, the St. Clairsville girls' basketball team could've responded in two ways.
Fortunately for head coach Alicia Freeman, the Lady Red Devils (6-3) came out and played the way she expected them to as they dismantled an undermanned Martins Ferry squad, 63-34, inside the Tolbert Gymnasium.
After blowing a 11-point lead in the fourth quarter against the Bulldogs, St. Clairsville could've come out flat, but didn't.
"That's not us," Freeman said. "I am very excited about how they came out tonight. They came out and they were hungry. They did what they needed to do.
"This win is part of a learning process," she continued. "Last night (Wednesday) was a tough lesson, and they learned from it. They responded like a good team should."
The game was never in doubt as Alexis St. Clair scored two quick buckets for a 4-0 lead and the Red Devils, who have won three of their last four, were never seriously threatened.
Sophomore Anna DeFilippo tallied nine of her season-high 23 - including a sparkling 11 -for-11 effort from the charity stripe - in the first eight minutes as the Red Devils raced to a 19-6 advantage. She added five more in the second as the margin increased to 30-16 at the break.
"Anna is growing as a player every day," Freeman noted. "She gets better every day and works really hard. I'm happy for her."
Seven more points by DeFilippo in the third quarter bumped the count to 45-28. She also pulled down four rebounds.
St. Clair, who joined DeFilippo in double digits with 17, was a force on the defensive end, as well. She was charted with eight steals, many which led to fastbreak baskets.
"Alexis is another one of those girls that work hard. The whole team, and it doesn't work without everyone playing their role, works really hard. It's like a puzzle. If one of them isn't in the right place, we don't work well.
"Together we work very well together," she added.
St. Clairsville shot 20 of 42 (47.6%) from the floor while knocking down a sizzling 21 of 25 (84%) from the free-throw stripe.
Freshman Maylah Coleman led the Purple Riders, who have lost five straight after topping Edison in the season opener, with 15 points. Tyrah King have seven points and a like number of rebounds.
Both teams collected 28 rebounds. Ashton Cenkus paced St. Clairsville with five off the bench.
Martins Ferry, which has been plagued by turnovers all season, committed 25, 10 more than the Red Devils.
No JV game was contested.
St. Clairsville is at River Saturday, Dec. 28 in a 4 p.m. JV tip. Martins Ferry is at St. John Central Saturday in a noon varsity-only tip.
ST. CLAIRSVILLE (63) - Mick 1 1-2 3; Gillespie 3 0-0 6; Figura 1 4-4 6; St. Clair 7 3-6 17; DeFilippo 5 11-11 23; Cenkus 0 2-2 2; Sliva 1 0-0 2; Westlake 0 0-0 0; Lewis 2 0-0 4; Totals: 20-42 21-25. MARTINS FERRY (34) - Coleman 5 4-4 15; Ray 0 0-0 0; King 3 1-5 7; Stalder 2 1-1 5; Monroe 0 0-0 0; Bridges 1 0-0 2; Johnson 2 1-2 5; Martin 0 0-0 0; Sutton 0 0-0 0; Skvarka 0 0-1 0; Totals: 13-37 7-13.
Three-Point Goals: St. Clairsville 2 (DeFilippo 2); Martins Ferry 1 (Coleman 1)
North can be reached at email@example.com