WINTERSVILLE - Teams have used a variety of defenses to combat the Indian Creek girls' basketball team's height advantage.
Wednesday night, much to her chagrin, St. Clairsville head coach Alicia Freeman borrowed a page from Syracuse men's basketball head coach Jim Boeheim playbook as the Red Devils used a 2-3 zone against the Redskins.
One of the ways to combat the zone is to beat the defenders down the court before they have an opportunity to get set in the zone. St. Clairsville's strategy worked for the first half, but in the second half Indian Creek was able to beat the press and beat the Red Devils down the court en route to some easy baskets, and, thanks to a 20-0 run, the Redskins were able to rally to defeat the Red Devils, 49-36.
SHORT JUMPER — Indian Creek’s Bre Berryman takes and makes a jumper in the lane over St. Clairsville’s Lauren Figura during Wednesday’s 49-36 Redskins win. Looking on is Creek’s Ashley Durbin.
-- Mike Mathison
"We worked all week on our press breaker and beating the press," Indian Creek (8-4) head coach Erin DeSantis said. "At times, we haven't finished, but tonight we finished against the press.
"I think the light bulb is coming on. We are midway through the season. We know what our objective is when team's go zone.
"Before, our guards didn't take the jumpers. Tonight, we hit some jumpers, and that forced them to come out of the zone. They had to play man, and then we were able to get it inside to our bigs. We were a lot smarter on offense than we have been."
St. Clairsville (10-5) led Indian Creek 20-17 in the second stanza before Indian Creek tallied the next 20 points to take a 37-20 lead into the fourth quarter.
"I don't like playing zone," Freeman said. "I prefer to play man, but we had to go zone. We are not very tall, and Indian Creek is pretty tall. We wanted to double down on them on the inside, so we went with the 2-3 zone."
For the Redskins, Bre Berryman recorded a game-high 19 points, and Bethany Davis scored 14 points.
Anna DeFilippo finished with a team-high 17 points for St. Clairsville.
In the second, a 5-0 run gave Indian Creek a 17-14 advantage, but St. Clairsville tallied the next six points to take a 20-17 lead on a basket by Mick. It was the last points the visitors scored until DeFilippo converted a three-point play with 7:23 left to play in the game.
The Red Devils led 20-19 at halftime.
St. Clairsville had some good looks at the basket in the third quarter, but the Red Devils were unable to get a shot to go in the net. Indian Creek did not have any such problem. The Redskins made eight field goals in the frame, and Berryman netted two foul shots to give the hosts a 17-point cushion heading into the fourth quarter.
"In the second half, we gambled a lot," Freeman said. "They did a good job of taking advantage of our intensiveness.
"We also did not score any points in the third quarter. It is tough to win when you do that. They scored 18, and we scored none. Indian Creek did what they needed to do. We had some good looks, but we couldn't get any of our shots to fall. Our lack of ability to score really hurt us."
Taking away the third quarter, St. Clairsville outscored Indian Creek 36-31 in the other three quarters.
"If we could do the third quarter over, we have got a ballgame," Freeman said.
The win enabled the Redskins to even up the season series.
"We came out with a little more firepower," DeSantis said about the differences in the two games. "We lost to them the first time in a last-second type situation. We were able to take care of the ball.
"We are still trying to find the right combination of girls. Another one of our starters - Kristen Shimko - was out tonight (with an injury). We have been juggling injuries. The girls have responded well."
Freeman said she did not see any big difference between the two games.
"We did not change what we did," she said. "We knew how they were going to play."
Both teams are scheduled to return to the court tonight. Indian Creek will play a 7 p.m. varsity only game against Martins Ferry.
DeSantis said she would rather play than practice.
"Absolutely," she said. "You know what you are doing in practice. Teams give you different looks in games."
Meanwhile, St. Clairsville will be back on the road to take on Bellaire.
Indian Creek 49, St. Clairsville 36
St. Clairsville 11 9 0 16 - 36
Indian Creek 10 9 18 12 - 49
ST. CLAIRSVILLE (10-5): Mick 1 0-2 2, Westlake 0 0-0 0, DeFilippo 7 1-1 17, St. Clair 2 1-2 5, Gillespie 2 0-0 5, Cenkus 0 0-0 0, Lewis 0 0-0 0, Figura 3 0-0 7. Totals: 15 2-5 36. 3-Pointers: DeFilippo 2, Gillespie, Figura.
INDIAN CREEK (8-4): Berryman 8 3-4 19, Kamarec 3 0-4 6, Davis 7 0-0 14, Durbin 4 0-0 8, Callahan 1 0-0 2, Taylor 0 0-0 0, Celestin 0 0-0 0, Smith 0 0-0 0, Schmitt 0 0-0 0. Totals: 23 3-8 49.