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St. C defeats Brooke 82-71

Photo by Kim North St. Clairsville’s Tyson Pastor drives to the basket against Brooke’s Nate Kimball (40) on Friday during the sixth-annual Sam Andy Basketball Classic in Wheeling.

WHEELING — Following last Tuesday’s loss at Martins Ferry, St. Clairsville boys basketball coach Ryan Clifford said he would live and die with the shots that Tyson Pastor took even though most of them didn’t fall.

Clifford was all smiles Friday after watching his 6-3 junior knock down 15 field goals – two from behind the bonus arc – in leading the Red Devils to an 82-71 victory over Brooke in the first of three games in the sixth annual Sam Andy Basketball Classic inside WesBanco Arena.

“When I said it I meant it,” Clifford stressed. “He is a big-time scorer. One bad shooting night isn’t going to define his season. I can guarantee you that. He was aggressive to the basket. He was who we thought he could be. It was good to see.”

Pastor netted a career-high 35 markers as St. Clairsville rallied from a 11-point deficit midway through the second quarter.

He had 19 points at the half, including one of his three-pointers just before the first-half buzzer sounded. After a missed free throw with 4.4 ticks remaining, Pastor rebounded the ball in the left corner and let it fly. It tickled the twine for a 46-44 lead.

“They are a fun team to play against because both teams like to play up and down,” Clifford added of Brooke. “They are hard to defend with the way they shoot the ball, and they have a really good player in Leyton (Toepfer). He’s one of the best players in the Ohio Valley.”

Pastor then tallied eight points in the third quarter when St. Clairsville built a 62-57 margin.

A pair of quick baskets to start the final quarter bumped the margin to nine, 66-57, and the Bruins (1-1) couldn’t close the gap.

In addition to Pastor’s game-high total, Brady Shafer added 17 and Cole Thoburn 15. Ollie Muhly supplied eight off the bench. Pastor also had a team-best eight rebounds.

Brooke’s Leyton Toepfer fired in 30 points to lead the Bruins. He had a trio of treys. Garrett Milam also drilled three triples to finish with 15. Nate Kimball added 10 points and eight boards. Toepfer had five rebounds.

Despite the back-and-forth action, both teams took good care of the ball as they combined for 14, with Brooke charting nine.

“We expected an up-and-down game … a war. They are a good shooting team and we are a good shooting team,” Brooke head coach Adam Shinsky said. “They out-toughed us in the second half. They also responded when we made two nice runs at them. I told my kids their run is coming too, and it did. We didn’t respond well after that.

“They got a lot of loose balls in the second half and they had some open drives to the basket,” he added. “We had to earn our baskets.”

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