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 Red Devils ran into a buzzsaw inside the Crimson Center at Steubenville High School by the name of Fort Frye on Thursday, in the Division III Eastern District semifinals.
Photo by RICK THORP
St. Clairsville’s Alexis St. Clair looks to get to the hoop Thursday night.
The Cadets seized control early in the second quarter and 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. 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."
St. Clairsville had its chilliest shooting performance of the tournament, connecting on four 3-pointers, which had been a staple in the two sectional tournament victories.
"I was happy with our defense, especially in the second half," Fort Frye coach Dan Liedtke said. "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 9-8 after one, was behind 19-14 after senior Lauren Figura tallied her lone bucket.
"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 score its first points of the half until there was 4:40 showing on the third-quarter clock. The Devils 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 said. "(Liedtke) 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 Cadets were paced by Borich's 22. Megan Liedtke, who is the daughter of the coach, netted 12.
St. Clairsville, which finishes at 17-7, was paced by sophomore point guard Anna DeFilippo's 15 points. Senior Brigee Mick added six points.
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.