Big Red gains control over Brooke

LOOKING — Brooke’s Chloe Fox looks to make a pass in front of Steubenville’s Leah Ferguson. (Photo by Andrew Grimm)

WELLSBURG — After his team got off to an 0-2 start, Big Red girls basketball coach Jeff Lombardo said his squad needed to learn to play in control.

Wednesday night inside the Brooke Wellness Center, Steubenville did just that, never surrendering the lead in the second half to defeat Brooke, 52-42, for its third straight win.

“Sometimes we still get a little erratic, but compared to what it was a week ago, it is getting a lot better,” Lombardo said. “We hope to keep progressing in that area. This is a tough place to play.”

Big Red turned the ball over just six times in the second half while staying in command.

“That is music to my ears,” Lombardo said of the low turnover number. “That is typically our downfall. This is two games in a row now that we have limited our turnovers and the result is wins. That kind of goes hand-in-hand.”

After a somewhat slow start that put it down 11-7 after one quarter, Steubenville (3-2) took over in the late portion of the second quarter to take the lead, rattling off a 13-0 run to end the half and turn what had been a nine-point deficit into a 24-20 advantage at the break.

Brooke senior Hope Bowman got into foul trouble in the second quarter, and the Big Red run occurred with her on the bench. Neither coach thought that was a coincidence.

“Brooke has one of the top players in the area (in Bowman), and they are missing another one of the top players in the area (in injured Ashley Arca),” Lombardo said. “Hope makes them a tough team to match up with because she is so much of a mismatch. We were able to get Hope in foul trouble because we got good position inside, and getting her out of the game was a big deal.

“There is a reason for (the run coming after Bowman had to sit).”

As Steubenville began to get rolling, Brooke (1-3) committed 13 turnovers in the second quarter, most of which came during its scoring drought.

“A lot of our stuff goes through Hope, and her picking up her third foul and having to sit is going to affect us,” Brooke coach Ryan Sherich said. “She does a lot of our scoring and she does a lot of things for us on the defensive end. The kids are kind of used to her being back there. It put different people in positions they are usually not in, and I think it really affected us.

“We are in a lot of different roles this year because of Ashley being hurt. People are shifted around and learning as we go.”

The Bruins were able to narrow the Big Red advantage to two a couple of times midway through the third quarter, but Steubenville pushed the advantage to five by the time the fourth quarter began, before maintaining a multiple-possession lead most of the fourth quarter.

“There were a couple things that, if we do them differently, it could have been different,” Sherich said. “There were times in this game where we secured a rebound and (Big Red players) went up and took the balls right out of our hands and made layups. There were occasions where a (Steubenville) girl missed the layup, but got her own rebound and made a bucket. Give credit to Big Red, they are aggressive.

“We rely on getting a lot of our stuff off of rebounds and hustling. Today, Big Red out-hustled us.”

Sophomore Makayla Abram scored 13 of her game-high 24 points in the third quarter to help keep Steubenville in control. She also finished with seven rebounds and a pair of assists.

“Makayla has been scoring in our first couple of games, but she would be the first to tell you she didn’t feel like she was playing up to her full potential,” Lombardo said. “I think this was kind of a breakout game for her. She just had a different demeanor on the court.”

Bowman, despite being limited by the foul trouble, still managed a double-double for the Bruins with 12 points and 12 rebounds, also leading Brooke in assists with three.

Chloe Fox scored a team-high 15 points for the Bruins.

Chrissy Byers finished with eight points and five boards.

For Big Red, the attack was balanced behind Abram. Madison Fields finished in double figures with 11 points while pulling down a team-high nine rebounds.

Anna Taylor and Elexis Martin each scored five. In total. seven of the 10 players to see the floor for Big Red found the scoresheet.

“We have a lot of depth, so we were rotating a lot of girls in the guard position,” Lombardo said. “Our hope was that we would be able to wear them down a little bit. We were bringing girls in that feel fresh as the game goes on. Our kids want to go in there and play defense hard.”

Steubenville plays at John Marshall on Saturday, while Brooke return home on Saturday to host Weir High.

GAME NOTES

¯ Big Red won a two quarter jayvee contest, 26-24. Martin led Steubenville with eight points. Madison Platt finished with eight for the Bruins.

¯ Brooke’s game with the Red Riders on Saturday has been changed to an 11:30 a.m. jayvee tip (two quarter game) with varsity to follow. The game was originally scheduled for a 5:45 p.m. jayvee start.

(Grimm can be reached at agrimm@heraldstaronline.com)

Steubenville 52, Brooke 42

Steubenville 7-17-18-10 — 52

Brooke 11-9-17-5 — 42

STEUBENVILLE (3-2): Gulan 0 0-0 0; Ferguson 2 0-0 4; Fields 5 5 1-2 11; Crownover 0 0-0 0; Abram 11 2-4 24; Taylor 2 0-1 5; Marshall 1 0-0 2; LaRue 0 1-2 1; Martin 2 1-2 5; Minniefield 0 0-0 0. TOTALS 23 5-10 52.

BROOKE (1-3): Fox 6 2-3 15; Buchmelter 1 0-0 2; Ryan 1 0-0 2; Byers 2 4-6 8; Bowman 4 4-7 12; Platt 1 0-1 3; Knoss 0 0-0 0; Weir 0 0-0 0. TOTALS: 15 10-17 42.

3-POINT GOALS: Steubenville 1 (Taylor); Brooke 2 (Fox, Platt). ASSISTS: Steubenville 15 (Gulan 4); Brooke 11 (Bowman 3). REBOUNDS: Steubenville 24 (Fields 9); Brooke 25 (Bowman 12). TURNOVERS: Steubenville 21; Brooke 32.

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