Crusaders hold on to nip Bellaire St. John with tight defense down the stretch

STEUBENVILLE – Points were at a premium Monday night.

The Catholic Central girls’ basketball team held St. John Central without a field goal for about 16 minutes, but the Crusaders only led the Irish by three points with less than 15 seconds in the game.

In the end, the visitors from Bellaire missed a potential game-tying 3-pointer, and the girls from Jefferson County converted three foul shots in the final 12.6 seconds to hold on for a 34-28 victory.

“We found a way to win,” Catholic Central head coach Tommy Winland said. “We have been preaching to the girls that we are going to have to scrap and fight. They did that tonight.”

The Irish made just two field goals in the second half.

“We played without two starters,” St. John’s head coach Bubba Kapral said. “We scored two points in the third quarter. We aren’t very good.

“Give credit to them. They were gritty enough. They played bad in the first half. We did not play through a bad second half. We didn’t execute on offense.”

Both teams had just one player reach double digits in scoring in the game.

Miranda Parkinson led the way for Catholic Central (4-8) with a game-high 18 points. Parkinson netted all three of the Crusaders’ three 3-pointers.

Marissa Rose scored a team-high 12 points to lead the way for the Irish. Rose scored seven of her team’s nine points in the second half. Her basket with 43 seconds left in the game was St. John’s first field goal of the second half.

Also for Catholic Central, Gabby Capaldi tallied seven points, Micca Mirabella collected four points and Hannah Ondos scored three points.

For St. John’s, Lindsey Froehlich finished with seven points, Emily LeMasters scored four points and Taylor Lowe tallied three points.

“We did a great job on defense,” Winland said. “Defensively, we did a great job on Rose and Froehlich.

“They sagged on us. Offensively, we had to be patient and move. Their sagging worked to our advantage. We were patient. When teams sag, it is hard to be patient.”

The teams combined to shoot just 42 percent (16 of 38) from the foul line. Catholic Central converted just 7 of 20 shots from the charity stripe, while St. John’s netted just 9 of 18 attempts from the foul line.

Catholic Central’s largest lead was nine points.

“That is two wins in a row,” Winland said. “It is never going to be pretty with us. We are never going to be flashy. We are going to have to fight and play hard. We are going to leave it all out on the court.”

The victors scored the first 10 points of the fourth quarter to take 30-21 advantage. At that point, the Crusaders outscored the Irish (3-7), 17-2, in the second half.

Rose scored to pull the Irish to within 30-23, and Kapral called a timeout with 42.5 seconds remaining. Later, Rose nailed a 3-pointer making it 31-26, and then, following a turnover, she made two foul shots, creeping closer, with 28.5 seconds left to play.

After Catholic Central missed two foul shots, St. John’s had a chance to tie, but Rose’s 3-pointer bounced off the rim and the Crusaders were able to control the rebound. Capaldi made two from the line with 12.6 seconds left to seal the deal.

The Irish led 11-7 after the first quarter, and they extended their advantage to 19-14 at halftime. Though, the visitors were held without a field goal in the third quarter, St. John’s was still able to take a 21-20 lead into the fourth quarter.

The Irish will play Friday at home against Paden City as part of a girls and boys doubleheader. Catholic Central is slated to return to the court Monday at home against Bridgeport.

Catholic Central 34, St. John Central 28

St. John 11 8 2 7 – 28

Catholic Central 7 7 6 14 – 34

ST. JOHN (3-7): Froehlich 1 5-9 7, Porter 1 0-0 2, Lowe 1 1-1 3, Rose 4 3-7 12, Santinoceto 0 0-0 0, Johnson 0 0-0 0, LeMasters 2 0-1 4. Totals: 9 9-18 28. 3-Pointers: Rose.

CATHOLIC CENTRAL (4-8): Stevens 0 0-0 0, Torrance 0 0-0 0, S. Mirabella 1 0-0 2, Bertoia 0 0-0 0, Virtue 0 0-0 0, Parkinson 6 3-7 18, Simmons 0 0-2 0, M. Mirabella 2 0-0 4, McComb 0 0-0 0, Capaldi 2 3-8 7, Ondos 1 1-3 3. Totals: 12 7-20 34. 3-Pointers: Parkinson 3.