St. Clairsville caps regular season with rout of Caldwell
ST. CLAIRSVILLE — Thanks to a highly impressive performance on both ends of the floor, St. Clairsville will certainly go into the Division II postseason riding a wave of momentum.
The Red Devils put the final touches on a 14-8 regular season in grand fashion by routing a solid Caldwell club, 85-44, on John Jenkins Court Saturday night.
St. Clairsville will now turn its attention to a Wednesday home game against Claymont.
“We survived a brutal part of the schedule and I think we came out mentally tougher for it,” St. C. Head coach Ryan Clifford said. “We’re excited for the tournament.”
Before shifting total attention to the Mustangs, the Red Devils — playing for the third time in three days and a back-to-back — showed no signs of fatigue.
They used multiple double-digit scoring runs and played impressive man-to-man defense that made life extremely tough on the Redskins.
“We got the game going up-and-down and played with a lot of energy,” Clifford said. “That’s energy that we maybe didn’t play with the last two times out. But, we looked more like us from a couple of weeks ago.”
The defensive performance was something that Clifford was extremely pleased with. Because Caldwell features one of the premier players in the Eastern District in sophomore Bede Lori, who is closing in on 1,000 points already in his relatively young career.
Lori finished with 12, but was limited to just two field goals because junior Colin Oberdick made life extremely difficult for the Redskins’ guard.
“Colin defended a really good player and did a really good job on him,” Clifford said. “That can’t go overlooked with how we played on offense.”
Offensively, the Red Devils were told by Clifford — in the pre-game — to just be themselves.
For St. C. to be itself on offense, the recipe involves establishing junior big man Avery Henry early, sharing and moving the ball efficiently. Henry scored 12 of his 19 in the first quarter to check off that box.
The Red Devils had two other players — juniors Drew Sefsick and Ryan McCort — in double figures, while senior Will Balgo (8) and Oberdick (7) weren’t far behind.
Sefsick continued his late-season scoring tear. He led the Devils with 24 points, including a sharp 9-of-9 effort at the line. McCort — fresh off a 27-point outburst at Beaver Local on Friday — scored 19, including 14 in the second half.
“We got back to being us,” Clifford said.
Caldwell, which finishes the regular season at 13-9, was led by Jett Lori. He, like his cousin, Bede, is also closing in on 1,000 points for his career. Jett Lori finished with 15.
The Redskins will host Steubenville Catholic Tuesday in a Division IV tournament opener.