STEUBENVILLE - Big Red erupted for 22 first quarter points Tuesday and rolled to an 84-59 victory over Cambridge during Senior Night (a.k.a Slamfest 2014) at the Crimson Center.
Big Red improves to 15-3 and secures the No. 2 seed for next week's OVAC Class 4A tournament.
Mike Haney's club may have set a school record for most dunks in a game with five. Senior Adam Sterling flushed it home four times and freshman Charles Reeves added the exclamation point with a fourth quarter jam. Sterling's four second quarter tallies as well as his initial four in the third all came via the throw down.
He made it 38-24 Big Red at the intermission when he skied to grab an alley-oop pass from junior Lucas Herrington and slammed down two.
"I know the one before half was nice," Haney said of the dunks. "That play finally worked for us after 19 games.
Sterling stated the slams "help us play better, especially on defense."
"They fire us up and make us play harder and harder," he noted. "We all played well tonight, the seniors and the bench players. We played good defense and didn't foul much. It was an all-around good game for us.
"Winning on Senior Night feels real good. We lost last year and we didn't want to happen this season."
The visiting Bobcats took their first and only lead of the evening midway through the opening stanza thanks to a hoop inside by Clifford Clarke.
The Red then outscored their guests 13-2 to grab a 22-12 advantage.
Senior Brandon Herring-Hill reeled off six straight for the hosts while Sterling added five (he knocked down a triple then banked one home after a steal on the defensive end). During the opening frame, Big Red swished 10 of 20 from the floor. Chris Smith, another senior, had a hand in his team's first nine points. He scored four and assisted on a Sterling hoop and Khaliq Bougard's trifecta.
Reeves came off Haney's bench to score six in the second as Big Red maintained its double-digit lead. He recorded 10 more in the third and the hosts were up 62-43 with eight minutes to play.
"It was a very good win," Haney noted. "Our seniors deserve to go out with a victory. Three of them (Herring-Hill, C. Smith and Sterling) are four year players. They put a lot of time in during the summer and all fall. Khaliq (Bougard) is a first year player and he has done an outstanding job for us."
Sterling paced the Big Red scoring parade with 20. He also had four steals. Reeves recorded a double-double (19 points and 11 rebounds) while Herring-Hill contributed 15. Bougard added eight and C. Smith seven. Herrington doled out five assists.
"I was happy with Reeves' play," Haney stated. "We were missing shots and he was getting those putbacks and drawing fouls in the process (seven of Reeves' 11 boards came on the offensive end). Plus, defensively he really got after it."
The Big Red defense caused major problems for the now 10-10 Bobcats, forcing 21 turnovers.
"There have been times during the season when we created turnovers but didn't score," Haney pointed out. "Tonight, we capitalized and got some easy buckets. I thought we played pretty fast and did a good job overall."
Josh Lewis netted 13 to pace Cambridge. Zach Padden contributed 12 and Jordan Watson nine.
Big Red probably will entertain East Liverpool next week in the OVAC semifinals.
"It's always a goal to host a game in the OVAC tournament," Haney said. "We're happy with where we are."
Haney and company will travel to Wellsburg Friday for a re-match with Brooke. Big Red handed the Bruins a 70-64 setback in early January.
"We've got a big one at Brooke," Haney stated. "They get up and down the floor and have great shooters and rebounders. We'll have to be ready to go and get after it."
Big Red 84, Cambridge 59
Cambridge 12 12 19 16 - 59
Big Red 22 16 24 22 - 84
CAMBRIDGE (10-10): Seckman 0 0-0 0; Tetrick 0 1-2 1; Thompson 3 1-2 8; Watson 4 0-0 9; Johnson 0 0-0 0; Wilkinson 2 0-0 5; Masinelli 1 0-0 2; Hayhurst 0 0-0 0; Taylor 0 0-0 0; Francis 1 0-0 3; Lewis 6 1-1 13; Padden 6 0-0 12; Clark 3 0-0 6. TOTALS: 26 3-8 59. 3-pointers: Thompson, Watson, Francis, Wilkinson; Rebounds 26 (Padden 7); Turnovers 21.
BIG RED (15-3): Wallace Jones 1 0-0 2; Herring-Hill 6 2-4 15; Wolfe 0 0-0 0; Collaros 1 00-0 3; Herrington 2 0-0 4; Reeves 9 1-3 19; Bougard 3 0-0 8; Sterling 9 0-0 20; D. Smith 2 0-0 4; C. Smith 3 0-0 7; Thomas-Miller 0 0-0 0; Prentice 1 0-0 2; Williams 0 0-0 0. TOTALS: 37 3-6 84; 3-pointers: Bougard 2, Sterling 2, Herring-Hill, Collaros, C. Smith; Rebounds 28 (Reeves 11, C. Smith 7); Turnovers 10.