Big third helps St. C. power past ’Rocks

ST. CLAIRSVILLE — The Barnesville Lady Shamrocks invaded St. Clairsville on Thursday evening and gave the hosts everything they could handle. In the end, a frantic third quarter that saw the hosts force 10 Lady Rocks turnovers while getting 11 points from senior Rileigh Simpson in the sparked a 50-41 victory on John Jenkins Court.

“I think after coming back from Bellaire Monday this was kind of like a trap game,” St. C. head coach Stacey Agnew said. “We didn’t have the same intensity and we had to play hard ‘D’ with their offense. We went over it at halftime and they got over it good and picked it up defensively and Barnesville kept playing good.”

“Barnesville played good and made some big shots, and we’d get one and they’d make another big shot and tie it up, or be down by two. Jamie (Barnesville head coach Carpenter) did a great job.

“Rileigh Simpson in the second half just refused to lose, and that’s what a senior is supposed to do, she refused to lose.

“We were up by one at halftime and you go into a situation where they (St. Clairsville) played a little bit better in the third, but I just told those kids that we got beat at home by this team 63-28. A 35-point loss at home, and to come down here and fight all the way to the end, I was proud of my kids. I told them I?ve never been more proud of a loss in my whole career,” Carpenter said. “I hope they realize, and I told them, what it takes to play with a good team like that. That’s a really good team, a really good coached team, Stacey does a great job with them and we played right with them the whole way. The third quarter was pivotal.”

Both teams struggled to find any offensive traction early on, with the Lady Red Devils (8-4) getting a pair of buckets from gritty junior Katie Strama, while the Lady Shamrocks (4-10) getting early points from Annastashia Carpenter before a three from Rylee Stephens staked the visitors to the lead, which stood at 10-7 after one.

St. C mounted a comeback in the second after Barnesville was held to one field goal in the first five minutes, taking the lead on a sequence that saw Maria Vincenzo score, then Strama get a steal at midcourt and dish the ball off to Simpson for two. The teams traded baskets over the remainder of the quarter, with Barnesville getting a key three from Madyson Little to go back up, and the Green-and-Red held a 19-18 edge at the half.

The third quarter saw the hosts clamp down defensively, led by the effort of Simpson and Keri Klinkoski. As noted, the Shamrocks were guilty of 10 turnovers in the quarter with Simpson being the main beneficiary. Barnesville was shut out the final 2:30 as St. Clairsville closed the quarter ahead by a 32-28 count.

Strama again asserted herself for the Red Devils in the fourth, netting 8-points before fouling out. Using time management and fouls, the hosts held the Shamrocks to three made baskets in the final frame, slowing a pair of Barnesville rallies in the final four minutes. The hosts were able to go 8-11 from the charity stripe to close the game and secure the final verdict.

Strama finished the game with 16 for St. Clairsville, adding seven rebounds. Simpson closed with 15 points and recorded a double-double with 11 rebounds. She also snared six steals, with the lion’s share occurring in the decisive third. Macy Malin was also a defensive ace for the Lady Devils, grabbing seven steals to go with six boards and four points.

Stephens led the way for Barnesville with 12 points and Carpenter recorded 10 rebounds. Barnesville finished the game with 26 turnovers to 14 for St. Clairsville. The Lady Devil also held a slim 38-36 advantage on the glass.