MORRISTOWN - An ideal recipe for basketball success includes balanced offense, tough defense and strong foul shooting.
St. Clairsville got the perfect doses of all of those Saturday afternoon and it turned into an impressive 73-54 victory against Union Local in what was a pivotal game in both the OVAC 4A and Buckeye 8 standings.
Despite the victory putting the Lady Devils basically in control of their destiny in the Buckeye 8, it was just another step along the way for St. Clairsville head coach Alicia Freeman.
ST. CLAIRSVILLE’S Anna DeFilippo goes up for a shot against Union Local’s Mikayla Patton during Saturday’s game in Morristown.
"It's a huge win, but we're not thinking about anything other than our next game," Freeman said. "We have a big week (coming up) with three games, so we're taking it one game at a time."
It was clear the St. C. focus lied no where except on Union Local, which drops to 8-4.
The Lady Devils knocked in four bonus goals in the first quarter, seven in the first half and every time the Lady Jets got on a run, St. C. had an answer and never allowed the Lady Jets to regain the lead after the score was 5-3.
"That's just how these girls play," Freeman said. "When they realize they're in trouble, they really pick it up again and extend the lead. I get nervous about it, but the stay focus and do what they need to do."
Union Local tied the game twice in the third quarter, but, each time, the Lady Devils responded and eventually they owned a 55-47 lead entering the final chapter. The Lady Jets didn't get any closer than four in the fourth and that was at the outset of the period when they got two steals and converted both in transition.
"St. Clairsville played a great game," said Union Local head coach Kelley Hanlon. "We knew what their strengths were and tried to play off of them. I thought we played well, and I don't have any complaints (about our effort). All of the girls did what we asked them to do, but St. Clairsville really had a good game."
Earlier in the week, the Lady Red Devils (9-4) withstood a serious challenge from Harrison Central. Freeman saw the need to work on the offensive end, so her team spent much of Friday's practice working on shooting.
It paid extreme dividends.
"We knew we had to do better offensively," Freeman said. "We talked with the girls that we need makers, not just shooters. We really spent a lot of time at the foul line."
The cliche practice makes perfect proved true once again.
The shooting work was evidenced by the nine 3-point goals the Lady Devils knocked down and the repetition at the foul line was realized by an impressive 22-of-22 effort.
"That's huge," Freeman said. "I am a loss for words. That's just a good job by the girls."
Also at a loss for words when she heard the stats was Hanlon.
"They're very quick, they're very good shooters and their (shooting) percentage for the game had to be out of this world," Hanlon said.
While the Lady Red Devils placed three players into double figures with talented sophomore Anna DeFilippo leading the way with 26. Senior guard Carlee Gillespie and hard-working junior Alexis St. Clair went for 17 and 16, respectively.
On the defensive end, St. Clairsville received yeoman's work from senior Brigee Mick, who bottled up UL senior Cori Medley. Medley, who is one of the area's premier players, was limited to nine points and hit nary a bonus goal.
Junior Amanda Swallie was the Lady Jets' leader. She scored 19 points and had several assists, including a nifty behind-the-back pass in transition to Kylie Russell. Mikayla Patton finished with 10 points.
The Lady Devils held a 34-26 edge on the boards. Lauren Figura and Mick each had for St. C. Swallie had eight to pace UL.
The winners were charted for just 10 turnovers, which was four fewer than Union Local.
St. Clairsville made it a sweep with a victory in the reserve game.
ST. CLAIRSVILLE (73) - Mick 2, 2-2 8; Gillespie 7, 0-0 17; DeFilippo 7, 8-8 26; St. Clair 4, 8-8 16; Cenkus 1, 0-0 2; Sliva 0, 0-0 0; Lewis 0, 0-0 0; Figura 0, 4-4 4; Totals: 21, 22-22 73. UNION LOCAL (54) - Swallie 8, 1-2 19; Rucker 0, 0-0 0; Medley 4, 1-2 8; Butler 0, 0-0 0; Clark-Patterson 1, 0-0 2; Delaney 3, 0-0 8; Russell 2, 2-2 6; Patton 2, 6-7 10; Totals: 20, 10-13 54.
3-point goals: St. C. - Mick (2), Gillespie (3), DeFilippo (4). UL - Swallie (2), Delaney (2)