Rick Isaly knew his River girls' basketball team was drained after an emotional week that featured games with OVAC heavyweights Fort Frye and Shadyside, which the Lady Pilots split.
He also knew his talented squad was looking forward to Monday night's return engagement with homestanding Bridgeport, but sprinkled in the middle was a Saturday afternoon affair at St. Clairsville.
Showing no effects of a loss to the Tigers Thursday, River (13-3) pressured the Red Devils (6-7) into an eye-popping 32 turnovers, with all but two of those coming in the initial three quarters, en route to a 75-45 wipeout victory on John Jenkins Court.
RIVER’S Hayley Bowers dribbles the ball up the court during Saturday’s game at St. Clairsville. Bowers scored nine points in the Lady Pilots’ big victory.
"We've spent a lot of energy in the last week," Isaly admitted. "Our girls were pretty much spent after the week we've had, but they came out today ready to play."
St. Clairsville, which was coming off a thrill-packed, double-overtime win at Harrison Central Thursday, scored the first four points of the game, but River answered with a 11-2 run. The Red Devils eventually cut the deficit to 14-12 after one period, despite turning the ball over 11 times.
The second panel was much like the first, a series of runs as the Pilots netted the first eight, while St. Clairsville countered with seven straight. The teams traded buckets as River led 25-24 before going on a 10-0 run over the final 3:22 for a 35-24 advantage at the half.
Senior Laken Ramsay was the beneficiary of her team's in-your-jersey, full-court, defense as she tallied eight of her game-best 24 points.
"We started a little sluggish again today, but then we stepped it up and got things going," Isaly noted. "After that we played pretty well."
Pretty well could be an understatement if you consider River shot 60 percent (34-57) from the floor. But, more than half of those field goals were of the layup variety.
"Give them credit," St. Clairsville head coach Alicia Freeman said of River. "We knew they were a good team, but you can't turn the ball over that many times against anybody.
"And the thing about the turnovers, they capitalized upon everyone of them I think," she added.
River, which entered the week in a battle for the top spot in the OVAC Class 3-A with Fort Frye, which it defeated in overtime to avenge an earlier setback, forced 11 more turnovers in the third quarter as it used a 22-4 margin to pull away for good.
"As a team, we just have to forget this game," Freeman said. "We've got other games left on our schedule. Our season isn't over, but we have to correct the turnover issue."
Cassidy McCullough backed Laken Ramsay's point production with 16, and also charted a dozen steals. Landyn Ramsay added 11 points off the bench, while Hayley Bowers and Jensen Caretti evenly divided 18. Lauren Figura and Alexis St. Clair led the hosts with eight points each. Brigee Mick had seven.
Ashleigh Moulder grabbed game honors with nine rebounds as St. Clairsville led 32-26 off the glass. Bowers and Caretti each landed seven for River.
The Pilots made it a clean sweep with a victory in the JV game.
RIVER (75) - Lak. Ramsay 11 1-3 24; McCullough 8 0-0 16; Bowers 4 1-2 9; Weaver 1 0-0 2; Caretti 4 1-3 9; Lan. Ramsay 5 0-2 11; Young 0 0-0 0; Jones 1 0-0 2; Cieszeski 0 0-0 0; Smith 0 2-2 2; Winkler 0 0-0 0; Totals: 34-57 5-12. ST. CLAIRSVILLE (45) - Mick 3 1-1 7; Gillespie 2 0-0 5; St. Clair 4 0-3 8; Moulder 3 0-0 6; Figura 2 4-4 8; DelGuzzo 2 0-0 5; Skukan 0 0-0 0; DiFillipo 0 2-2 2; Cenkus 0 2-2 2; Miller 1 0-0 2; Sliva 0 0-0 0; Totals: 17-43 9-12.
Three-Point Goals: River 2 (Lak. Ramsay, Lan. Ramsay); St. C. 2 (Gillespie, DelGuzzo)