It's quite a luxury when a team has multiple players who can knock down shots.
Harrison Central has several, but Tuesday evening on John Jenkins Court in St. Clairsville, the host Red Devils simply had more.
The end result was a hard-earned 57-45 repeat victory for the Red Devils before another large turnout inside the Devils' Den.
ST. CLAIRSVILLE’S Jerrid Marhefka goes up for a shot over Harrison Central’s Kalub Mitchell during the first quarter of Tuesday’s game. Additional images may be found at cu.timesleaderonline.com
Harrison Central got as close as nine on four different occassions in the fourth quarter, but could never get any closer.
"Our kids hit big shots," said St. C. head coach Kim Clifford. "They're veterans and they played with a lot of poise. I was a little discouraged about a few plays down the stretch, but overall they made the plays when we needed them."
It was either Dan Monteroso, Adam Jeffries, Jerrid Marhekfa or Riley Carlton who proved to be a thorn in the Huskies' side. All of those Devils' seniors hit a big shot at a juncture to help keep St. C. in front.
"They're hard to make uncomfortable because they've got guys who've played in some big games in their careers," said Huskies' head coach Justin Clifford. "I told our guys we're not into moral victories, but I was extremely proud of our effort. I don't think we could have played any harder."
The Huskies (12-5) proved they came to play early, scoring 10 of the game's first 12 points. Kim Clifford called a quick timeout and the Devils responded with 13 in a row.
"Harrison Central really came to play and had a good gameplan," Kim Clifford said of his team's early-game struggles. "This is the kind of game I expected because it's a rival game, they've got talented, veteran players."
The Red Devils (12-2) rode the hot hand of Marhefka early. He scored 12 of his 17 in the first half as St. C. built a 25-20 lead at the intermission.
"I think we got them out of wack a bit because we changed defenses a few times," Justin Clifford said. "But, they hit big shots when they needed them. They've got some good players over there. We got up early and were playing pretty well, but they hit some shots."
The Devils began to push the Huskies to the brink in the third when they stretched the margin to as many as 16 at 42-26 before Harrison scored the final five of the third.
Monteroso, who received a standing ovation prior to tipoff as recognition of scoring his 2,000th career point in Sunday's loss, came alive in the third. He scored eight of his 17 in the third.
Carlton buried a pair of triples in that third quarter.
"Having (guys who can make shots) is a necessity for us because we're not real big," Kim Clifford said. "We need to be able to spread the floor and make teams come out after us."
While Marhefka and Monteroso led the way, Jeffries finished with 11 and Carlton 10.
Harrison Central was led by senior aces Fletcher Watt and Nick Pelegreen, who equally divided 20 points.
"Our guys played their rear ends off tonight," Clifford said. "The goal is to play (St. Clairsville) two more times."
St. C. prevailed in the JV game by a 51-40 count.
HARRISON CENTRAL (45) - Watt 4, 0-0 10; Pelegreen 4, 1-2 10; R. Mitchell 3, 0-0 6; Kowalski 4, 0-0 9; Rutter 0, 0-0 0; K. Mitchell 3, 0-0 7; Olmstead 1, 0-0 3; Evans 0, 0-0 0; Totals: 19, 1-2 45. ST. CLAIRSVILLE (57) - Monteroso 6, 4-7 17; Carlton 3, 1-2 10; Jeffries 4, 0-0 11; Marhefka 6, 2-2 17; Giffin 0, 0-0 0; Burghy 0, 0-0 0; Campbell 0, 2-3 2; Totals: 19, 9-14 57.
Three-Point Goals: HC - Watt (2), Pelegreen, Kowalski, K. Mitchell, Olmstead. St. C. - Monteroso, Carlton (3), Jeffries (3), Marhefka (3).
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