Steubenville, Meadowbrook clash in 4A

ST. CLAIRSVILLE — Steubenville and Meadowbrook are no strangers when it comes to boys basketball. They met earlier this season in Steubenville with the Big Red prevailing, 83-79, on Jan. 7.

The two schools are no strangers to the OVAC Wheeling Hospital Boys Basketball Class 4A Championships either. Steubenville (16-4), this year’s No. 1 seed, finished as runnerups in 2013 before claiming the crown a season later. The second-seeded Colts (18-3), meanwhile, are the defending champions, having defeated St. Clairsville, 65-52, a year ago. They also won a title in 1987.

They will meet again today for the Class 4A championship at Ohio University-Eastern’s Health and Physical Education Building. Tip-off is set for 4:45 p.m. Big Red advanced with a 90-56 rout of No. 4 Buckeye Local, while the Colts won 74-49 over third-seeded Edison.

“We’re a different team than we were early in the season,” first-year Meadowbrook head coach Lou “Scooter” Tolzda said. “We’ve changed throughout the season. We lost two starters due to various reasons midway through the season, but the kids have done an amazing job of re-inventing themselves without even blinking.

“We’ve evolved into being that explosive, high-scoring team that shoots the ball extremely, extremely well,” Tolzda, who has coaching stops at River, Beallsville and Monroe Central on his resume, added. “We shoot nearly 50 percent from the field and 79 percent from the free-throw stripe. We also handle the ball very well.”

All five starters score in double figures for Meadowbrook, led by 6-3 senior forward/center Parker Black at 14 points a game. Classmates Konnor Roberts (5-11 guard/forward), Justin Cork (6-3 forward/center) and Logan Wolverton (5-7 guard) also net more than 10 points a game, along with 5-10 junior guard Trey Singleton.

Tolzda, who led Beallsville to the 2012 title game, thinks the bigger court at OUE will help his team.

“For some reason, we seem to play better on the road than we do at home,” Tolzda admitted. “I don’t know why, but that’s the way it’s been. The bigger floor might also allow us to spread them out a little more.”

Tolzda had nothing but praise for his opponent.

“I learned that they are unbelievably athletic. They want to play the game the way we do, up-and-down the floor,” he said. “I also learned that you have to have a Plan A and a Plan B for them, and you’ll probably use both.”

Steubenville, which has 13 overall boys basketball championships, has won six of its last seven outings after starting out 1-2.

“We always want to be playing our best basketball at the end of the season, and I think we’re doing that right now,” Steubenville head coach Mike Haney. “We had a little spell there against Martins Ferry where we didn’t play very well, but that was because of Ferry’s play. Overall, though, I think we’re playing well.”

Big Red is led by 6-6 senior center Charles Reeves who averages 14 point and 7.5 rebounds per contest. The University of Pitt football recruit also averages 4.5 assists, 2.2 steals and a block every night out.

“Charles has played in this game as a freshman against Union Local,” Haney recalled. “He’s the only one of our kids that has that experience.”

He is joined in the starting lineup by classmates Shyoun Petteway (6-0 guard), Jack Marx (6-2 forward) and Alec Davis (6-2 senior), along with 6-4 junior guard Davon Smith. Of that group, Marx averages 12-13 points.

Haney learned one thing from the previous meeting.

“They can all shoot the lights out … everyone of them,” he stressed. “They are never out of it (the game) no matter what the score is.

“We played a really good first quarter against them and got a big lead,” he recalled.

“But they caught fire in the second quarter by shooting three’s. Defensively, we have to play a full four quarters against them. No one can take a play off or their guy can knock down that three.”

When asked about the neutral floor, Haney is tickled to be playing at OUE.

“I definitely like the floor at OUE,” he said. “We’ve played a lot of tournament games there through the past couple of years. Our kids are very familiar with the floor.”


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