St. Clairsville scored the first nine points of the game Friday night in Bellaire.
And, it didn't look back from there.
The Red Devils racked up 33 first-quarter points and cruised to a 75-43 repeat victory against the Big Reds in the 'House of Champions.'
ST. CLAIRSVILLE’S Dan Monteroso goes up for a shot over Bellaire’s Nathan Steele during Friday’s game in Bellaire. Monteroso scored 18 points in the Red Devils’ 75-43 victory. Additional images may be found at cu.timesleaderonline.com
"I was real pleased with how we played," said a satisfied Kim Clifford outside the Devils' locker room. "We played pretty well. We shot the ball well, moved it real well and I thought we went to the offensive glass really well."
The Red Devils are 13-2 and, weather permitting, are scheduled to play host to a talented Cambridge outfit this evening.
"I like where we are so far this week," Clifford said. "We had a great experience Sunday, a rivalry game Tuesday, played pretty well (Friday) and hopefully we can cap off the week well."
The Big Reds, meanwhile, are 3-15 and will play at Buckeye Local on Tuesday.
"St. Clairsville has a very good team, kids who have put in an inordinate amount of time to become good players," said Big Reds' head coach J.R. Battista. "This is a game of skill. Actually, it's a game of a lot of skill. If you don't have a lot of skill, you struggle."
The Red Devils flashed those skills during the first quarter in which they connected on six triples, forced several Big Reds' turnovers and turned them into easy buckets.
Senior standout Dan Monteroso went for 12 of his game-high 18 in the first quarter. The Purdue football commit now has 2,044 points thus far in his prep career. The reigning state co-player of the year also yanked down 10 rebounds.
Included in his first-quarter production were two dunks, including a highlight reel one where he took a pass off the backboard from classmate Jerrid Marhefka for the flush.
St. Clairsville, which subbed freely throughout the contest, led 55-16 at the half. The Red Devils' first unit played the first couple of minutes in the third before taking a seat for the remainder of the contest.
The Devils placed three in double figures. Senior Dylan Campbell was Monteroso's top support with 14 off the pine. Marhefka had 12 markers.
Seniors Riley Carlton and Adam Jeffries each had eight. Senior Zach Keylor scored seven.
"We had balanced scoring; we were pretty equal opportunity on the shots, which is really important," Clifford said. "There are a lot of positive things for us to take from this."
Bellaire received a solid 14-point effort from junior Nick Patrone. Nathan Steele produced a double-double for the Big Reds. He had 12 points and 14 boards.
"Our kids battled and played hard, but you're supposed to do those things," Battista said. "It's like when you have a test, you're supposed to study for it. St. Clairsville is very good, and you'd be a fool to say anything other than that. This could have been a lot worse. They've got a really good chance to go back to the 'Final 4' this year. That's not easy to do."
St. Clairsville held a 43-37 edge on the boards. Senior Jay Gossett had a solid seven rebounds to back Monteroso.
The Red Devils' varsity victory completed the sweep. Their reserve squad prevailed by a 49-18 count in the opener.
ST. CLAIRSVILLE (75) - Marhefka 5, 0-0 12; Derosa 0, 0-2 0; Jeffries 3, 0-0 8; Giffin 1, 2-4 4; Monteroso 8, 1-2 18; Burghy 0, 0-0 0; Keylor 1, 4-4 7; Carlton 3, 0-0 8; Coleman 0, 0-0 0; Campbell 4, 4-4 14; Panepucci 0, 0-0 0; Gossett 2, 0-0 4; Totals: 27, 11-16 75. BELLAIRE (43) - Steele 4, 2-3 12; Ramsay 0, 0-0 0; Westlake 2, 0-0 4; Back 2, 0-0 6; Pickens 0, 0-0 0; Ky. Hess 1, 0-0 2; Patrone 5, 2-4 14; Kovalick 0, 0-0 0; Hall Ke. Hess 0, 5-6 5; Bentz 0, 0-0 0; Totals: 14, 9-11 43.
Three-Point Goals: St. C. - Marhefka (2), Jeffries (2), Carlton (2), Campbell (2), Keylor, Monteroso. B - Steele (2), Back (2), Patrone (2).
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