St. Clairsville nips Edison
RICHMOND – Struggles from the free-throw line proved costly to both teams, but in the end the game came down to two misses from beyond the arc.
The Edison and St. Clairsville boys’ basketball teams combined to miss 23 foul shots in the game, but the Wildcats still had a chance at the final horn.
Trailing by three points with less than 10 seconds to play, Edison got off two 3-pointers, including one shortly before time expired, but the Wildcats did not get a friendly roll as the desperation shot bounced off of the rim giving the Red Devils a 66-63 victory Friday night on the road.
The loss was the latest heartbreak the season for the Wildcats (0-3).
“We have lost three games by a total of nine points,” second-year Edison head coach Nate Moses said. “We are right there. We are right where we need to be. We have to get over that line. That is what I told them in the locker room. We are right at the line. We just have to get over it. We are almost a very good team.
“We were right there against a well coached St. Clairsville team. I am proud of how the kids played. They played hard against a good St. Clairsville team.”
St. Clairsville (2-0) head coach Kim Clifford gave the Wildcats a lot of credit for keeping the game close.
“They played with great intensity,” he said. “They shot well. They executed well. It was because of them and nothing else. They played very, very well. We are fortunate to escape with the win.”
The Red Devils led by as many as 14 points on three occasions in the third quarter before the Wildcats stormed their way back.
Four players reached double figures in the scoring column for the Wildcats. Skylar Wilken netted a team-high 14 points to lead the way, Dylan Jones and Austin Hyndman each delivered 13 points and Erik Lee collected 12 points.
Edison ended the night 14 of 24 from the charity stripe.
“We shot a little better than we have been,” Moses said. “When you miss 10 free throws and you lose by three points that makes a huge difference in the outcome of the game.”
Three players scored in double digits to lead the way for the Red Devils. Brendan Ferns scored a game-high 20 points, while Michael Scarnecchia contributed 14 points and Joel Griffin finished with 13 points.
The Red Devils shot worse (4-of-17) from the line than the Wildcats.
“We shoot a lot of free throws,” Clifford said. “It is easier to shoot them in practice than it is in a game. We will get better at it.”‘
The Red Devils scored the first six points of the game to take the early lead. St. Clairsville extended its lead to 10-2 before Edison pulled within 19-13 at the end of the first quarter.
The boys from Belmont County led by as many as eight points (23-15) in the second stanza, while the boys from Jefferson County closed to within four points on four occasions (19-15, 27-23, 29-25, 31-27) in the quarter.
St. Clairsville led 33-27 at halftime.
A 3-pointer by Lee pulled the Wildcats to within 37-32 in the third quarter, but St. Clairsville scored the next nine points to build a 46-32 advantage and led 52-40 entering the fourth quarter.
“They are well coached,” Moses said. “They play hard. No. 44 (Scarnecchia) hurt us in the third quarter. He hit a couple of 3s. No. 5 (Ferns) played a really nice game.
“We did a lot of good things. We are right there. We just have to jump the fence, and take that next step.”
A basket by Ferns gave the visitors a 54-43 lead early in the fourth quarter but the Wildcats were able to scratch and claw their way back into the game.
A 3-pointer by Wilkin pulled the Wildcats to within 58-53 with 3:32 left to play in the game. Later, Wilkin drained another 3-pointer to close Edison’s deficit to 62-59.
“They did a nice job,” Clifford said. “They were able to drive, and they found open shooters. They scrapped. They played real hard to win the game. We had to match their intensity.”
A layup by Trouten gave the Red Devils a 66-61 lead late in the game. Then, Jones sank two foul shots for the Wildcats pulling the hosts to within 66-63 with a 14.9 seconds showing on the scoreboard clock.
St. Clairsville missed the front end of a 1-and-1 allowing Edison to make its final push, but unfortunately the iron proved to be unkind to the Wildcats in the end.
“I was not expecting them to foul,” Moses said. “We had two good looks at the basket. We had two opportunities to tie the game. That is all you can ask for.
“They are a good team. They have a good tradition. We had two chances to tie it and send it into overtime. That is all you can ask for – except winning.”
Clifford said he didn’t think about fouling in that situation.
“We work on playing defense,” he said. “We work on defending the 3-pointer. They got a nice bounce. On the first look, I thought we defended that well. On the second look, they got a nice bounce that led to the shot. I did not really think about fouling.”
Both teams are scheduled to play tonight at home – weather permitting. Edison is scheduled to play a makeup game against Martins Ferry, while St. Clairsville is slated to take on Brooke.