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St. Clairsville snaps losing streak; keeps pace in OVAC 4A

• Red Devils best Brooke on Sr. Night

ST. CLAIRSVILLE — All wins are important. Some, however, mean a little more than others.

Not too far back, St. Clairsville was sitting pretty atop the OVAC Class 4A girls’ basketball standings. However, a five-game losing skid dropped the Red Devils behind Martins Ferry and into a battle for second-place — and a home game in the upcoming tournament semifinals — with East Liverpool. The cut-off date is Monday.

Wednesday night head coach Stacey Agnew watched his team snap out its recent slump with a 65-41 triumph over visiting Brooke during Senior Night on John Jenkins Court. It allowed the Red Devils (9-7) to sweep the Bruins (1-14).

“Boy did we need that,” a relieved Agnew said. “We played well. The best thing is we moved the ball offensively. We haven’t been concerned with our offense lately, but it’s been our defense we’ve struggled with. It was better in the second half, but we still have a long way to go.

“It was good to get a win.”

Trailing 6-4 early on, junior Macey Malin sandwiched a pair of three-point goals around one by Shae Brookover on three straight trips down the court. Those bonus baskets jump-started a 14-3 run and the hosts slowly, but surely, pulled away.

“We’ve been working a lot on our shooting, especially from three-point range,” Agnew said. “It’s starting to pick up. We’ve been stressing to the girls to make three, four, five passes on each possession. The more passes the better shot you’re going to get and the more points you’re going to score, but it’s hard to convince girls of that.

“They’re starting to buy into it,” he added.

Malin set a season-high with 19 points, including four treys. She was joined in double digits by sophomore Alexis Thoburn, who came off the bench, with 13. Seniors Keri Klinkoski and Katie Strama evenly divided two dozen. Malin also contributed six steals, four assists and three rebounds. Strama charted eight boards and Klinkoski half-a-dozen.

“The balanced scoring was nice. We shared the ball well and found the open person,” Agnew praised. “It’s nice when everything works like you practice it.”

For Brooke head coach Amy Serevicz, a slow start wasn’t what her team needed.

“We came out really flat. I was throwing new kids in and they were as flat as the kids that were on the floor,” she said. “We played a tough game the other night against (Indian) Creek, and we just came out flat tonight.”

The Bruins were guilty of 21 turnovers, of which 15 came in the middle two quarters.

“Turnovers kill us every game,” she noted. “When you don’t play your best, you’re not going to win.”

Freshman Ava Bolen led Brooke with a double-double. She recorded 13 points and 11 rebounds. Natalie Ryan added 11 markers.

“A couple of our seniors don’t start but they work hard every day and they’ve been in the program for all four years,” Agnew said of Emma Haley and Olivia Robinson, both of whom got starts Wednesday night. “It was nice to win for them. All four of them are nice girls.”

St. Clairsville is back in action Saturday at Buckeye Local in the Buckeye 8 Challenge.

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