STEUBENVILLE - With one win, two goals were accomplished for the Steubenville girls basketball team on Monday.
The 60-41 victory over Oak Glen in an OVAC 4A semifinal advanced Big Red to Saturday's championship game against Harrison Central at Ohio University Eastern in St. Clairsville.
It also marked an undefeated, 12-0, season at the Crimson Center.
OVAC SEMIFINALS — Big Red’s Mytia Barker shoots over Jessica Stivason of Oak Glen during an OVAC 4A semifinal on Monday. Steubenville won, 60-41.
-- Matthew Peaslee
SEMIFINAL LOSS — Oak Glen’s Maise Witherow drives through the lane around Big Red’s Dominique Wilson during an OVAC 4A semifinal on Monday. Steubenville beat the Golden Bears 60-41.
-- Matthew Peaslee
REMEMBERING -- During pregame warmups of the Steubenville and Oak Glen OVAC 4A semifinal on Monday, both teams sported specially made yellow T-shirts. The shirts read “Big Red Basketball” on the front and “Forever In Our Hearts” with an Oak Glen logo on the back. They were worn to honor three Oak Glen students who died in a car crash on Jan. 25.
-- Matthew Peaslee
"It's something special," said Steubenville coach Phil Casinelli. "It's something they'll never forget.
"For the seniors, it was their last game on this court so it was an emotional game for them."
Seniors Emiley Masloski, Mytia Barker, Dominique Wilson, Brittany Bodo and Abby Taylor have a chance to repeat as 4A champions, but first they had to get past the challenge of Oak Glen for the second-straight year.
Steubenville (20-1) led 17-6 after the first quarter and back-to-back 3-pointers by Masloski (on her first shooting attempt of the game) and Barker created a 20-point lead midway through the second quarter.
Big Red led 29-15 at halftime.
"At the beginning they got a lead on us and we were playing timid," said Oak Glen coach Scott Wiley. "Especially with the way Steubenville plays, you have to match their intensity.
"Once we figured out we were playing a basketball game we picked it up."
The Golden Bears (12-5) scored the first six points of the third quarter and eventually cut the deficit to 33-26. Steubenville missed its first 12 field goal attempts of the second half.
"It happens," Casinelli said. "When you're playing a full game there's going to be spurts. The defense has to hold down the fort, so to speak, and negate their scoring. They cut the lead down and made it interesting - Oak Glen played a great third quarter."
Barker hit the first field goal at the 3:40 mark of the third. Her 3-pointer less than a minute and a half later put Big Red up by double digits. With just under two minutes left in the quarter, she drained another triple to extend the lead to 40-28 and keep it in control.
"It felt really good because lately I haven't been doing well with my threes," Barker said. "Today, it just happened in a big game like this. It helped my team extend the lead."
Her 3-pointer early in the fourth quarter put Steubenville up, 48-28. Masloski drained three 3-pointers in the first three minutes of the fourth and finished with 12 points. Barker led all scorers with 22.
"Playing with Emiley since like fourth grade, we know each other so well," Barker said. "We know our strengths and weaknesses and know where we'll be. All the seniors have great chemistry."
Steubenville forced 26 turnovers and Barker created six steals. Wilson had four steals and Hannah Masloski had two with five points.
Taylor added five points, while Lysiah Rice added eight points and grabbed eight of Steubenville's 25 rebounds.
"They're physical and fast," Wiley said. "They're a senior-laden team and their experience shows."
Jessica Stivason led Oak Glen with 12 points, while Vanessa Hissam added eight with seven of the Golden Bears' 24 rebounds. Alex Arnott scored seven points with a 3-pointer.
During pregame warmups, both teams wore specially made yellow T-shirts honoring the three Oak Glen students who died in a car crash on Jan. 25.
"We'd like to thank Steubenville Big Red and especially Ross Ivkovich and the Key Club for the support they have shown us and the Oak Glen community," said Golden Bears Athletic Director Phil Rujak. "It's another one of the many outpourings of support and caring that has been shown throughout this valley. Our community, our school and all of us at Oak Glen are very thankful to everyone.
"Personally, there is just no better place than the Ohio Valley. New York has glitter and Hollywood has the glamour, but there are no better people than those of the Ohio Valley. We might be opponents on the paying field, but we all come together when there is a need. We can't say enough about the great kindness and outpouring of support during this time."
Oak Glen will play at St. Clairsville on either Thursday or Friday in an OVAC consolation game.
Harrison Central beat the Red Devils, 59-50, in Monday's other semifinal. The Huskies are making their first appearance in a girls OVAC championship game.
Steubenville 60, Oak Glen 41
Oak Glen 6 9 13 13 41
Big Red 17 12 13 18 60
OAK?GLEN: Arnott 3 0-1 7, Snow 1 0-0 2, Witherow 2 0-0 4, Evans 1 0-0 2, 0 2-2 2, Feicht 1 0-0 2, Hissam 3 2-4 8, Wiley 1 0-0 2, Stivason 5 2-2 12. TOTALS: 18 6-9 41. 3-pointers: Arnott.
STEUBENVILLE: E. Masloski 4 0-0 12, H. Masloski 1 2-2 5, Young 1 2-4 4, Wilson 1 0-0 2, Barker 8 2-3 22, Rice 3 2-3 8, Taylor 2 0-0 5, Petrisko 0 2-4 2. TOTALS: 20 10-16 60. 3-pointers: Barker 4, E. Masloski 4, H. Masloski, Taylor.