BELLAIRE - St. John Central found itself in unfamiliar territory Monday evening.
With just a quarter to play, the Lady Irish appeared to be well on their way to a convincing victory against Beallsville with a 24-point lead.
Often times, finishing off a game is more difficult than building the original lead.
ST. JOHN’S Marissa Rose goes up for a shot against Beallsville’s Dicey Stewart during Monday’s game in Bellaire. The Lady Irish prevailed, 62-55. Rose scored a team-high 28 points for the Lady Irish. Additional images may be found at cu.timesleaderonline.com
St. John struggled mightily in the fourth quarter, went away from what had worked in the first three panels and ended up having to stave off a furious Beallsville rally for a 62-55 victory inside the Greenhouse.
"We quit playing defense, got a little selfish on the offensive end and didn't make a foul shot (in the fourth quarter)," said veteran St. John head coach Bubba Kapral. "Give credit to Beallsville because they kicked our butts all night long on the boards and we didn't defend well."
The win improves the Lady Irish to 5-10 just a little more than 48 hours removed from a tough, overtime setback at Martins Ferry on Saturday afternoon.
"To be able to get a win without one of our horses (Lindsey Froehlich) because of injury is nice," Kapral said. "Believe me, when healthy, we can be a good basketball team, but we've had a lot of things go bad. We've never had all five pieces on the floor. I think we're entering a stretch where we can win a lot of basketball games."
The Lady Irish wasted the little time in assuming control. They scored 15 of the game's first 17 points thanks to the back-court duo of Marissa Rose and Jessica Alvey. Rose knocked 15 of her team-high 28 in the first quarter.
Alvey, who recently returned to the lineup from a shoulder injury, dialed long distance during the opening spurt as well.
Eventually, the Lady Irish held a 22-13 lead after one and a 37-21 edge at the intermission.
The Lady Blue Devils, who didn't attempt a three-point goal, were getting good looks a the basket inside, but were just unable to convert. Plus, they were charted for 16 turnovers in the opening half.
"In the first half, we were 9-for-32 (shooting) in the paint," lamented first-year Beallsville head coach Ty English. "My mom never played a game of basketball and she could have done that. If you're not going to make shots (in the paint), you're not going to make them anywhere."
St. John owned a 53-29 edge entering the fourth quarter, but Talitha Bedford wasn't about to let her team go down without a fight.
Taking advantage of the Lady Irish struggles Kapral was speaking of, Beallsville exploded on a 17-2 run to open the quarter before Rose stopped the bleeding with a soft jumper.
Bedford, who led all scorers in the game with 34 points, netted half of her total in the fourth quarter.
Bedford's production was complemented by Dicey Stewart's 14.
"We never quit and that fourth quarter (effort) is something we can build on," English said. "We're missing two starters. I've seen us get a lot better though, so we'll keep working."
St. John, which hosts Cameron on Wednesday, also prevailed in the jayvee game.
BEALLSVILLE (55) - L. Bedord 2, 0-0 4; Stewart 7, 0-3 14; Vannest 0, 0-0 0; Decker 0, 0-0 0; Vance 0, 0-0 0; Quilon 0, 0-0 0; T. Bedford 13, 8-14 34; Ring 1, 1-2 3; Rainey 0, 0-0 0; Rutter 0, 0-0 0; Myers 0, 0-0 0; Totals: 23, 9-19 55. ST. JOHN (62) - Rose 10, 5-17 28; Alvey 5, 1-1 14; LeMasters 5, 1-2 11; Santinoceto 2, 0-0 4; Steinbak-Olsen 0, 1-2 1; Porter 1, 0-0 2; Lowe 1, 0-0 2; Totals: 24, 8-22 62.
3-point goals: B - None. SJC - Rose (3), Alvey (3).