DRESDEN - In the first 20-win season in school history, Steubenville girls basketball coach Phil Casinelli experienced something he hadn't before in 15 years of coaching.
Big Red didn't get to the foul line once in its Division II sectional semifinal with Philo.
"At any level," Casinelli said, "Junior High, JV or varsity - I've never had a team not go to the foul line. I see that as something I can question a little bit."
DEFENDED — Big Red’s Brittany Bodo dribbles against Philo’s Mallory Trout during Tuesday’s sectional game at Tri-Valley, won by the Electrics, 63-31.
-- Matthew Peaslee
Without the charity tries, Steubenville still committed nine first-quarter turnovers as the Electrics utilized a stifling full-court press and eventually fell, 63-31. To end a record-setting season, Big Red produced its lowest scoring output of the year.
"We were expecting to see that," Casinelli said of the Philo defense. "Maybe not as quick as they came out, so the speed of the game hurt us a little bit. We weren't prepared for it - that definitely was a big factor."
The Electrics (16-7) forced 27 turnovers and led by double digits as early as the 4:38 mark of the first quarter. They eclipsed the 20-point mark at the 1:28 mark of the first and led 23-10 at the end of the opening quarter.
"I don't know if their confidence was shot, we just had trouble getting the ball past half court," Casinelli said. "When we did, we really didn't get good looks."
Big Red, which ends the campaign with a 20-3 record, was hard-pressed to attempt any quality shots as it got off only 17, shooting 8 of 17, in the first half. Philo took 17 shots in the first quarter, alone, and shot 24 of 47 for the game.
"It was a physical game," Casinelli said. "I thought they played extremely physical, and I have no problem with that, but if they're only committing three fouls and playing physical we have to play like that. We didn't come out to play that way, they were physical and we tried to match that. We were just getting the (foul) calls on us.
"It is what it is. Take that away, they were the better team tonight."
Steubenville was whistled for a total of 15 fouls, while the Electrics committed just six.
Still, they created 16 steals, led by six from junior Corrie Burkhardt.
"That is something that we've been working toward all year long," said Philo coach Dan Hilty. "It wasn't something we saw that Steubenville did, it's something we've been trying to do. I would say this is one of the best games we've played defensively.
"Our defensive pressure starts with our people up top - Kara Hutcheson and Hayley Howard. If they don't do a good job putting pressure on, then it hurts the rest of our line. Every other girl can't be afraid to step up and give a great effort."
Burkhardt scored the first six points of the second half, herself, after taking a 35-20 lead to the locker room. Big Red was able to cut the deficit to eight points in the second quarter, but struggled again offensively in the home stretch. Emiley Masloski didn't record the first field goal until the 4:32 mark of the third quarter and Steubenville recorded just 11 points in the second half.
Masloski had 16 points, with four 3-pointers, in her final high school game. Mytia Barker was held scoreless, Brittany Bodo knocked down a 3-pointer and Dominique Wilson scored two points.
"It's tough," Casinelli said. "Everything comes to an end and they have to realize that. Whatever sport you're in, unless you win a state championship, the season is going to end with a loss. I told them to keep their heads up. They need to be proud of what they accomplished during their high school years.
"Everybody associated with Big Red is proud of what they've done for the program, the school and the community. There are bigger days ahead for these young girls - athletically and academically. They will continue to be great young ladies in the future."
Mallory Trout, Philo's lone senior, scored a game-high 22 points and Burkhardt finished with 17.
"It helps to raise our confidence level when they play like that," Hilty said. "They are definitely two strong pieces for us. When they can get going it takes the pressure off the other girls and they can execute when they have to."
Steubenville held a 20-18 rebounding advantage as Lysiah Rice pulled down nine boards and chipped in with eight points.
The Electrics will face River View in the sectional final on Saturday.
Philo 63, Steubenville 31
Steubenville 10 10 6 5 - 31
Philo 23 12 17 11 - 63
STEUBENVILLE (20-3): E. Masloski 6 0-0 16, Rice 4 0-0 8, Taylor 1 0-0 2, Bodo 1 0-0 3, Wilson 1 0-0 2. H. Masloski 0 0-0 0, Young 0 0-0 0, M. Barker 0 0-0 0, T. Barker 0 0-0 0, Herrin 0 0-0 0. TOTALS: 13 0-0 31. 3-pointers: E, Masloski 4, Bodo.
PHILO (16-7): Smith 1 0-0 2, Hutcheson 4 1-3 9, Coakley 1 1-2 3, Trout 6 7-9 22, Burkhardt 8 1-1 17, Howard 2 0-0 5, Tom 2 1-4 5, Hill 0 0-2 0, Pagath 0 2-2 2, Fuller 0 0-0 0. TOTALS: 24 13-23 63. 3-pointers: Trout 3, Howard.