St. Clairsville pulls away for 66-38 win over Barnesville

Mike Hughes
For The Daily Jeffersonian
Barnesville's Anna Yater (33)gets off a shot over St. Clairsville's Madison Sadler (25) and Alexis Thoburn (00) during Monday night's game in St. Clairsville

ST. CLAIRSVILLE — Barnesville tried to take advantage of a decided height advantage against St. Clairsville and started its big lineup on the road during Monday's match-up.

The strategy worked for about a quarter, the problem came when St. Clairsville’s smaller, quicker guards were able to work the ball around the perimeter for open 3-point looks.

St. Clairsville broke a 13-all deadlock after one with a 19-7 second-quarter run as part of a first half that saw the hosts hit six triples en route to a 66-38 victory.

“They shot the lights out, especially after the first quarter,” Barnesville coach Jason Perkins said. “That’s a credit to them. But we also weren’t getting out fast enough on shots and provided too much space. It’s easier to make shots when you’re wide open.”

Barnesville’s early offensive strategy allowed Halle Markovich to flourish. The 6-foot sophomore scored 12 of her game-high 17 points in the first half, including nine during the first quarter.

Markovich added two assists in the first half, both to Kenzie Kaplet. Kaplet finished with six of her eight points by halftime. The problem was no one else was hitting; a struggle the Red Devils didn’t seem to have.

Juniors Alexis Thoburn and Shae Brookover each totaled 14 points while sophomores Sydney Miller and Megan Malin added 12 and nine points, respectively. It was a balanced scoring effort that feature nine 3-pointers and a 48 percent rating from the field for the starters.

“We’ve spent a lot more time on shooting recently,” said St. Clairsville coach Stacey Agnew. “We’re not very big and our two inside girls are younger. But we have some shooters and we’ve spent a lot of time on it, worked on ball movement, and it really paid off.”

If that’s focus 1A for the Red Devils during practice, 1B is boxing out. Despite Barnesville owning a height advantage at every position, St. C. kept the visitors off the offensive glass. The ’Rocks managed only four second-chance points.

Barnesville's Rilee Lucas (11) goes up for a layup as St. Clairsville's Gianna Nardo (2) trails the play during Monday night's action in St. Clairsville.

“That’s the other drill we work on is boxing out and it isn’t pretty,” said Agnew with a laugh. “We spend time on it. We have to. We told them boxing out for us has to be second nature. That shot goes up, we have to get a body on someone.”

Thoburn and Malin each grabbed five rebounds.

Barnesville inability to grab offensive rebounds compounded the cold streak the team exhibited during the middle two periods when it made only 4 of 20 attempts from the field. That span saw the Red Devils outscore the visitors 41-14, all but sealing the result.

“The first quarter we played well,” Perkins said. “Halle came out and was on fire and she made some nice backside passes. But we went from playing well to almost nothing.

“Defensively, we had to go smaller to contain the outside shots, but it seemed like when we did that, they were scoring on layups. It was a catch 22.”

Barnesville’s Breanna Meade added a quick five points late in the fourth.

Red Devils’ senior Macy Malin saw a couple minutes of court time in each quarter, finishing with two points. It was her first game action of the school year after a knee injury during the summer wiped out her entire soccer season.

St. Clairsville scored a 39-27 decision in the junior varsity contest. The Red Devils were led by McKenna Moran’s 12 points and seven form Rachel Finical. Jaydn Thornton had eight for the Shamrocks while Ellie Thompson added five.

NEXT: Barnesville hits the road Thursday to take on the Shenandoah at Sarahsville.