STEUBENVILLE - The St. Clairsville girls hadn't played in the district basketball tournament since 2009.
Their stay this time around wasn't quite what they had hoped for.
The Lady Red Devils ran into a buzzsaw inside the Crimson Center at Steubenville High School by the name of Fort Frye Thursday evening in the Division III Eastern District semifinals.
ST. CLAIRSVILLE’S Anna DeFilippo (12) looks for room to drive during Thursday’s Division III action against Fort Frye at Steubenville High School.
The Cadets seized control early in the second quarter and basically never looked back en route to eliminating St. C., 55-32, in the opening game of the twinbill.
"Fort Frye is a good team they're better fundamentally than us, but we competed well and fought very hard," St. C. head coach Alicia Freeman said. "Things didn't fall our way. I think if we hit our shots, we would have been right in that ballgame."
Unfortunately for Freeman and the Lady Red Devils, St. C. had its roughest shooting performance of the tournament. It only connected on four 3-pointers, which had been a staple in the two sectional tournament wins.
Fort Frye, which plays exceptional defense, made St. C. work for everything it was getting on the offensive end.
"I was happy with our defense, especially in the second half," said Fort Frye head coach Dan Liedtke. "We didn't want to let them get hot behind the 3-point line. We know they were a quick team and liked to penetrate, so we had to prepare for a lot of things."
St. Clairsville, which trailed just 9-8 after one, trailed just 19-14 after senior Lauren Figura tallied her lone bucket of the game.
"We were probably a little nervous early," Freeman said. "This was a big game that had a lot of people talking about it. None of these girls had experienced a game like this before, which has a lot to do with it."
However, Fort Frye woke up from that point. It scored the final seven to end the half and then proceeded to tally the first nine of the third quarter.
St. C. didn't tally its first points of the half until there was 4:40 showing on the third-quarter clock. The Lady Devils actually got within 12 after two Alexis St. Clair free throws, but Fort Frye senior Brooke Borich buried a 3-pointer to push the lead back to 39-24 after three quarters.
"We'd scouted Fort Frye, watched a lot of film of them and knew how good they were defensively," Freeman confessed. "He just does a great job with that program. Defense is their strong point. They're very disciplined and we didn't get through screens or cover the cuts well enough."
Fort Frye iced the game away by outscoring St. C., 16-8 in the fourth.
The Beverly-based squad was paced by Borich's 22. Megan Liedtke, who is the daughter of the head coach, netted 12. Alexis Enochs finished with eight.
St. Clairsville, which finishes the season at 17-7, was paced by sophomore point guard Anna DeFilippo's 15 points. Senior Brigee Mick added six points.
"We're losing three great seniors in Carlee (Gillespie), Lauren (Figura) and Brigee (Mick)," Freeman said. "I am definitely going to miss those three girls, but we've got a good group coming back."
Fort Frye will make the lengthy trip back to Jefferson County on Saturday evening to tangle with Garaway for a trip to the regional tournament in Logan next week. The Lady Pirates ousted Harrison Central in the nightcap.
ST. CLAIRSVILLE (32) - Mick 2, 0-0 6; Gillespie 0, 1-2 1; DeFilippo 5, 3-3 15; St. Clair 1, 2-6 4; Figura 1, 0-0 2; Cenkus 0, 0-0 0; Sliva 2, 0-0 4; Totals: 11, 6-11 32. FORT FRYE (55) - Enochs 4, 0-0 8; Adkins 0, 0-0 0; Hart 0, 0-0 0; Parsons 3, 0-0 7; Borich 7, 4-7 22; Ma. Liedtke 3, 0-0 6; Me. Liedtke 5, 1-2 12; Totals: 22, 5-9 55.
3-point goals: St. C. - Mick (2), DeFilippo (2). FF - Borich (4), Me. Liedtke, Parsons.
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