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Big Red extends winning streak to eight in a row

PULLING DOWN — Steubenville’s Madison Fields hauls in a rebound past East Liverpool's Emma Ludwig, left, and Mikayla Reed on Thursday. -Joe Catullo

STEUBENVILLE — Steubenville’s winning streak continues at the expense of East Liverpool’s.

The Big Red girls basketball team jumped out to an early lead and led wire to wire, racing past the tired Potters, 60-31, Thursday night inside the Crimson Center.

The victory is Big Red’s eighth straight, while the loss ends East Liverpool’s four-game winning streak. Both streaks started following a loss at Indian Creek.

“No games are easy,” Big Red (10-3) head coach Jeff Lombardo said. “I have seen East Liverpool on film. The other night they were down by 15 or 16. I don’t think they ever had the lead, but they came back to win by one because they kept fighting. They are in a stretch were they have played a lot of games in a short amount of time. We thought if we could extend the lead, they may get a little tired. It never feels easy.”

Big Red scored the first six points of the night, and the hosts extended their advantage to 20 later in the first half. The visitors made a run at the end of the second quarter and into the third, but Big Red regrouped and built its lead up to as many as 31 points in the fourth.

“Early on, we were giving them multiple chances on every possession, and we did not fight back,” East Liverpool (9-5) head coach Bryian Burson said. “Steubenville is too good of a team to get off to a start like that against. I’m not taking anything away from Steubenville or saying the outcome would have been different, but this was our fifth game in eight days, and it looked like it.”

Big Red tallied double digits in all four quarters, while limiting East Liverpool to single digits in three of the four frames.

Elexis Martin collected a game-high 22 points for Steubenville, while Aubrey Thompson netted 13.

“Aubrey Thompson does a lot of the dirty work on defense,” Lombardo said. “She does a good job of getting us into our offense. She stepped up on the offensive end tonight. It was nice to see her have some offensive production tonight.”

Emma Ludwig led the Potters with a team-high nine points, while Mikaya Reed tallied five.

“We play 10 or 11 games in like three-and-a-half weeks,” Burson said. “With the exception of the first week of January, we play three games a week. We have to get through it. We are just playing so much. Like every other team, we are dealing with kids who are sick or tired. We just have to fight through it.”

After scoring the first six points, the victors extended their advantage to 14-6 before taking a 16-7 lead at the end of the first.

Big Red continued to increase their advantage in the second, as a free throw by Madison Fields gave her team a 29-9 lead. Big Red led, 29-12, at halftime.

“They had the size advantage, and size is usually where we excel,” Lombardo said. “We do a good job inside. Tonight, we were able to hit some jumpers, and we were able to get to the free-throw line. We knew it was going to be hard to get the ball inside, so our game plan was we wanted to pressure them get some steals and get out in transition. We were able to get some easy looks on the break, so we did a good job with it.”

The Potters tallied the first five points of the third quarter to pull to within 29-17, forcing Lombardo to call a timeout.

Big Red responded and pushed the lead back up to 16 points before a 3-pointer by Ludwig brought the Potters back to within 11 at 34-23. However, that was as close as East Liverpool got the rest of the way.

Big Red led 43-23 at the end of the third, and they outscored the Potters, 17-8, in the fourth.

“They did what we expected them to do,” Burson said. “We struggled with their pressure. We have to handle it. We have to do a better job of consistently handling it. We will have a few possessions where we do a good job of handling the pressure, and then we will have a few possessions where we struggle to handle it. You can’t give up so many easy baskets against a team like Steubenville.”

GAME NOTES

≤ Big Red’s eight-game winning streak is one of the longest the team has had.

“The girls’ attitudes are really good right now,” Lombardo said. “They are excited about coming to practice, and they are excited about playing. They root for each other. When one of the girls is down, the other girls step up. The girls are enjoying themselves. They are enjoying being on this team. Winning helps, but winning is a by product of everything they are doing.”

≤ East Liverpool won the JV game, 29-22. Dalani Ice contributed a game-high eight points to lead the Potters, while Samaria Blackwell collected seven points for Big Red.

UP NEXT

East Liverpool: Travels to Oak Glen Monday night.

Big Red: Scheduled to host Fort Frye on Saturday with a 2 p.m. JV tip-off.

Steubenville 60, East Liverpool 31

East Liverpool 7-5-11-8 — 31

Steubenville 16-13-14-17 — 60

EAST LIVERPOOL (9-5): Vantilburg 0 0-0 0; Peachey 2 0-0 4; Taylor 1 0-0 2; Flores 0 0-0 0; Reed 2 0-0 5; Parson 1 2-2 4; Ferrazzano 1 0-0 2; Brown 0 0-0 0; Foster 0 1-2 1; Ludwig 3 2-4 9; Rogers 1 2-2 4; Ice 0 0-0 0. TOTALS: 11, 7-10: 31.

STEUBENVILLE (10-3): Thompson 5 2-2 13; Gulan 1 0-0 3; Cucrase 2 0-0 5; Maxwell 2 3-4 7; Fields 1 3-4 5; Minniefield 1 0-0 2; Martin 10 0-0 22, Blackwell 0 0-0 0; Hill 1 1-2 3. TOTALS: 23, 9-12: 60.

3-POINTERS: East Liverpool 2 (Reed, Ludwig); Steubenville 5 (Martin 2, Thompson, Gulan, Cucarese).

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