ST. CLAIRSVILLE - Steubenville Big Red boys basketball coach Mike Haney was looking for his crew to come out Wednesday night and take care of business.
Big Red jumped on Minerva early and often en route to a 77-52 victory in the Ohio Division II sectional tournament Wednesday night at Ohio University-Eastern.
TOURNEY WIN — Steubenville Big Red senior Mylik Young grabs a rebound and makes an easy basket during Wednesday’s 77-52 victory over Minerva in the Ohio Division II?sectional tournament game at Ohio University-Eastern.
-- Mike Mathison
"We wanted to get after it right from the start," said Haney. "We wanted to play good defense, create turnovers and get some easy scores in transition. We did that.
"We attacked their zone early and that was important for us. We didn't just keep the ball on the perimeter settling for threes. We wanted to keep attacking their zone. We moved the ball well and got the ball inside. We rebounded well."
It was the start that Minerva boys basketball coach Pepper Locke didn't want to see.
"I knew it was going to be a tough road for us," he said. "I thought if we could keep them in front of us and box out, which were two really huge things, and stop them in transition, we would have a chance.
"But, early in the first quarter, we turned it over like we were playing scared. Defensively, we had to play zone and they got a lot of offensive rebounds and put-backs.
"And, it snowballed from there.
"They're a good team and, seeing them lately, I think they are playing the best basketball I've seen them play all year. Actually, I think they are playing the best of any Big Red team in the past eight to 10 years this late in the year.
"I think they are very dangerous."
Big Red jumped on the young Lions early and often as senior Mylik Young pounded the offensive boards and got out in transition with senior point guard Periogn West for an 11-point first eight minutes on his way to a game-high 21 points.
Steubenville took a 42-23 lead into the break and followed that up with a 22-9 advantage in the third quarter for a 64-32 lead after 24 minutes.
West backed up Young's solid performance with a 20-point effort, with 15 of those coming in the second and third periods.
"Periogn does a really good job running our offense," said Haney.
"You can say 'we have to guard Periogn' or 'we have to keep Mylik in check,'" said Locke. "But, the truth is that any of them on the court can shoot and score. If you focus on one, others will step up. It's really tough.
"That's why we tried to sit in a zone and tried to keep it on the outside and hope we could get enough bodies on them. We knew it was a tall task."
Cody Parrish paced Minerva with 13 points. Jantsen Locke added 11, Billy Eyer 10 and Evan Forst eight.
"We came into this year with one kid who played varsity basketball last year," said Locke. "We were really inexperienced. Plus, we're not very tall, so that doesn't make things any easier against a team like Big Red."
The victory sets up a 1 p.m. battle Saturday on the same floor with St. Clairsville, an 84-50 winner over Edison earlier.
"(St. Clairsville) Coach (Kim) Clifford said that it was a heavyweight fight the last time we played them (in the OVAC Class 4A championship game on Feb. 16, a 62-58 Red Devils win)," said Haney. "We believe that. We think the same thing. Our thing is, we don't want the judges to decide. We'd like the players on the court to decide."
There are no secrets between the teams.
"Not at all," said Haney. "They know we're going to press and get up and down the court. They're going to press and play man and get after us. Hopefully, the ball keeps going back and forth and there's not a lot of foul shots."
Steubenville 77, Minerva 52
Steubenville 22 20 22 13 - 77
Minerva 9 14 9 20 - 52
STEUBENVILLE: Young 10 1-2 21, West 6 6-7 20, Herring-Hill 3 1-1 8, Redman 3 1-2 7, Perdue 3 0-0 6, Lawson 3 0-0 6, Herrington 0 5-6 5, Smith 1 0-0 2, Sterling 0 1-2 1, Linn 0 1-2 1, Bailey 0 0-0 0. TOTALS: 29 16-24 77. 3-pointers: West 2, Hill.
MINERVA: Parrish 5 2-4 13, Locke 4 2-3 11, Every 4 2-6 10, Forst 4 0-0 8, Clapper 2 0-0 5, Catlett 1 0-0 3, Zeedrich 1 0-0 2, Whitcleatter 0 0-0 0, Knight 0 0-0 0, Brown 0 0-0 0, Gill 0 0-0 0, Cappelli 0 0-0 0, Stryffeler 0 0-0 0, Hudy 0 0-0 0. TOTALS: 21 6-13 52. 3-pointers: Parrish, Locke, Clapper, Catlett.