STEUBENVILLE - Oak Glen gave Steubenville Catholic all it could handle for two quarters Tuesday. Then, the Crusaders picked up the intensity, went on a 10-0 scoring run and cruised to a 55-36 victory inside the Mickey Barber Gymnasium.
The Golden Bears were down four (19-15) at the half and moved closer following a Taylor Kincaid free throw make to open the third quarter. That's when Sean Tucker's unbeaten club got it going.
Point guard Michael Barber registered a hoop and one on a nifty drive down the lane. Michael Carapellotti drained a freebie before Zack Herrington (he connected from behind the arc and at the line then scored in the paint) went on a six-point tear to put the hosts ahead by 13 (29-16). The Crusaders were up 36-23 heading into the final quarter.
Steubenville Catholic Central’s Ryan Fletcher secures a defensive rebound in front of teammate Matt Martello during the Crusaders 55-36 win over Oak Glen Tuesday in Steubenville.
Herrington scored 17 of his game-high 23 points during the second half.
''We realized what we had to do in order to beat a team that plays zone," Tucker said of his club's turnaround. ''The kids came out and did what they had to do. They cut hard to the bucket, they followed their shots.
They saw the floor better and they got out in transition.
''We played flat in the first half. We just can't half halves like that. Eventually it is going to catch up with us. Luckily it didn't and these kids were able to remain perfect.''
Steubenville Catholic (5-0) was up 10-7 after one quarter thanks to four points by Carapellotti. Herrington recorded four of his team's 10 second-period points. Meanwhile, Kincaid and his Cody Howell kept the Golden Bears close, accounting for 12 of the first-half total.
''I think we have gone into the half down two or four points in four games this season,'' Oak Glen coach Dave Smith said. ''We talk about sustaining the energy of from the first half. For whatever reason, we have a letdown every time.
''I just don't know why that happens. We could very well be 4-1 right now. I'm not sure what it is going to take for us to reach the next level. We made mistakes, we had 22 turnovers and we made bad decisions when we came out after halftime.''
Carapellotti added 11 points for the Crusaders, who were 18 of 53 from the floor. Barber finished with eight. Herrington tied Carapellotti for the lead in rebounds with seven and recorded five steals. He and Barber both dished out three assists.
Howell topped Oak Glen in the scoring department with 13. Kincaid had 11 to go along with his eight boards.
''Their intensity definitely was greater in the second half,'' Smith said. ''We made good decisions in the first half. We were able to kick the ball ahead and get some layups. We didn't do those things in the second half.''