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Big Red cools down Mitchell, Huskies

Steubenville’s defensive pressure enough for 60-49 victory over Harrison Central

CATCHING UP — Steubenville’s Cade Kernahan attempts to block a shot from Harrison Central’s Kobe Mitchell on Thursday. Also shown is Big Red’s Zion Sawyer. -Joe Catullo

STEUBENVILLE — Steubenville head coach Mike Haney and his staff challenged their players to step up defensively Thursday night.

It had to with Kobe Mitchell and Harrison Central’s powerhouse offense coming to town.

On-ball pressure and forcing tough shots, along with attacking more on offense in the second half, were Steubenville’s key ingredients for a 60-49 victory.

Mitchell, who is taking his talents to Akron next season, finished with 28 points, six rebounds and four assists. That point total is less than his average and 17 fewer than what he scored the last time he faced Big Red.

“The guys stepped up. Kobe is a great player, and they took it as a challenge,” Haney said. “We did a good job on him, and he still scored 28 points. We tried to make him work for everything. We also talked about keeping the other players under double figures, so they didn’t hurt us, too.

“Michael (Rook) did a great job coming off the bench. (Brenton) Jones stepped up off the bench getting on Kobe. It was a total team effort.”

The pressure began early and often in the opening frame. Big Red (4-2) grabbed a 19-15 advantage after one, including a 10-0 scoring run midway through. It only scored six points in the second quarter but allowed just nine and led, 25-24, at the intermission.

Chase Zimmerman, one of Steubenville’s best on-ball defenders, collected his third foul early in the second quarter. That’s when Rook and Jones gave Haney solid minutes off the bench defensively.

Jones later was a threat on the offensive end. Big Red’s best play was him cutting to the hole, receiving the pass and hitting a layup. He finished with 12 points and six boards.

Sawyer collected most of the assists from Jones’ jumpers. He had a game-high six dimes to go along with 17 points and six rebounds. Most of his assists came in the second half, while he scored 12 in the first.

“He did a good job shooting in the first half, but the second was about him penetrating and their guys keying on him. He was hitting guys wide open cutting to the basket,” Haney said.

Big Red also adjusted to the Huskies’ 2-3 zone better in the second half. It scored 17 points in the third and 18 in the fourth.

“We’re used to going against the 2-3, but it seemed like we were playing with it at a slower pace,” Haney said. “We were holding the ball too much. In the second half, we told them to attack the zone and the gaps. It seemed like we were able to and score some points.”

Harrison Central (4-2), meanwhile, had to play catch-up the rest of the way. However, out of Mitchell’s 28 points, just 13 came in the second half.

“When you play a 2-3 and pack it in a little bit, it’s going to slow the game down a little bit,” Harrison Central head coach Justin Clifford said. “Give them credit because they’re athletic, play hard and played good D. I think it was just the flow of the game more than anything else.

“We missed a bunch of easy shots to begin the third quarter. That kind of swayed the game a little bit, and they had something to do with that.”

Big Red outscored the Huskies, 17-8, in the third.

Phaeton Hill produced 11 points and two assists for Steubenville. Cade Kernahan chipped in six points, and Andrew Gresko added five points and five rebounds.

“As soon as we penetrated, their guys were out wide. Then we were able to cut it back door and get the layups,” Haney said regarding the second-half adjustment. “That was key because they never cut the deficit.”

For the Huskies, Cabot Arbaugh had eight points and six rebounds. Jon Vermillion collected six points and six boards. Skylar Mazeroski produced six points and five boards.

“(Mitchell) makes more than he misses, and I think he missed more than he made (Thursday). That may have been the defense or just his legs,” Clifford said. “But, it’s no excuse. Steubenville just played better than us and deserved the win.

“I thought we improved from the second quarter to the third. I know the score doesn’t indicate that, but I thought we played a little better. With everybody, it’s just a work in process.”

NEW JERSEY LIMITS

Kernahan switched out his usual No. 3 jersey in third quarter to 30. He suffered a bloody nose but did not have miss the rest of the game.

JV ACTION

Steubenville won the jayvee contest, 84-39. Lawrence Lewis led Big Red with 19 points. Harrison Central’s Ethan Moreland had 10.

UP NEXT

Harrison Central: Tentatively hosts John Glenn at 6 p.m. Saturday.

Steubenville: Tentatively travels to Edison with a 12:30 p.m. JV start on Saturday.

Steubenville 60, Harrison Central 49

Harrison 15 9 8 17 — 49

Steubenville 19 6 17 18 — 60

HARRISON CENTRAL (4-2): Mitchell 9 8-13 28; Mazeroski 2 1-2 6; Vermillion 2 1-2 5; Arbaugh 4 0-1 8; Santille 0 0-0 0; Cassidy 1 0-0 2; Madzia 0 0-0 0. TOTALS: 18, 10-18: 49.

STEUBENVILLE (6-3): Kernahan 3 0-0 6; Sawyer 7 0-2 17; Gresko 1 3-4 5; Hill 3 4-6 11; McCoy 1 0-0 2; Zimmerman 3 1-2 7; Jones 6 0-0 12; Rook 0 0-0 0. TOTALS: 24, 8-14: 60.

3-POINT GOALS: Harrison Central 3 (Mitchell 2, Mazeroski); Steubenville 4 (Sawyer 3, Hill). REBOUNDS: Harrison Central 29 (3 tied with 6 each); Steubenville 30 (Sawyer 6, Jones 6). ASSISTS: Harrison Central 7 (Mitchell 4); Steubenville 16 (Sawyer 6). TURNOVERS: Harrison Central 11; Steubenville 10.

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