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Beavers punch ticket into sectional final

ST. CLAIRSVILLE — Beaver Local used a huge advantage on the glass to build a double-figure lead against St. Clairsville Wednesday night, however, the Beavers managed to turn the ball over 17 times more than their guests to help keep the Red Devils in the contest.

In the end Coach Stacey Agnew’s St. Clairsville squad managed to take its first lead since midway through the opening quarter with just 12 seconds to play only to watch the season come to a heart-breaking end just mere seconds later.

Senior Jenna Riccardo pumped in a game-high 28 points and completed the double-double with 14 rebounds while sophomore Elizabeth Kolkowski added 15 points, including the eventual game-winner with 7 seconds to play, as Beaver Local escaped with a thrilling 61-60 victory over St. Clairsville in a Division II sectional battle on John Jenkins Court.

The victory moves Coach Stephanie Coie’s 11th-seeded, 13-10 record, Beavers into a Saturday afternoon sectional contest at Zanesville against third-seeded Maysville, a 68-29 winner over Zanesville High School last night.

“It’s always a big deal to come on the road and get a sectional victory,” Coie admitted. “Especially when you have to travel an hour and a half. I really don’t know much about Maysville, but I know they are very good.”

Beaver Local led by as many as 13 points twice in the third quarter last night and was still up by eight with 2:40 to go when freshman Megan Malin, who tallied 13 points off the bench, got hot. Malin drained a triple with 2:30 to play to make it a 53-48 games and after a Riccardo hoop nailed another long-range bomb for a 55-51 reading.

Another Riccardo basket was followed by a Malin put-back for a 57-53 showing with 1:10 on the clock. After that it was sophomore Alexis Thoburn’s turn as she hit back-to-back hoops at 1:07 and 42 seconds to even the count at 57-57.

Beavers’ senior Riley Britt turned it back into a two-point lead for the visitors with a pair of charity tosses, after Beaver Local had missed the front-end of two one-and-one situations earlier in the frame. A Thoburn free throw cut it back to a one-point game before another turnover by the hosts led to two free throws from junior Macy Malin and a 60-59 St. Clairsville lead with 12 seconds remaining.

Beaver Local threw a long pass down court that was nearly mishandled and once again turned over, however, the Beavers managed to get the ball to Kolkowski who was streaking towards the rim and banked in a lay-up at seven seconds. With no times outs the Red Devils moved the ball down court but a 25-footer was well off the mark at the horn.

“We rebounded the ball well for the most part, but there were key times in the fourth quarter when we didn’t box out which led to easy second-chance baskets for them,” Coie added. “I thought we moved the ball well after the first quarter, especially in the second quarter, which allowed us to get the lead.

“In the second half we went to an offense-defense move in the post because we were struggling guarding Keri (Klinkoski), especially on the wing, and that seemed to work out well for us.

“We managed to hold our composure late, but we have to do a better job listening during time outs. We are young at the guard spot and have struggled most of the year there but are getting better.”

St. Clairsville raced out to an early 9-2 advantage thanks in large part to a pair of Macy Malin triples in the first quarter, but the visitors battled back to knot the count at 13-13 after one. Kolkowski, who was a perfect 7 of 7 from the floor on the night, and Madison Cline each had five in the second quarter as the Beavers built a 30-20 lead at the break and extended that to 44-33 after three quarters.

Cline also scored 10 for the winners, who held a commanding 41-24 edge off the glass but turned the ball over 25 times to just eight for the Devils. Klinkoski finished with team highs of 18 points and seven rebounds while Macy Malin added 16 points and Thoburn eight.

“We lack size and that hurts us on the boards,” Agnew said. “And unfortunately, they were able to exploit that (Wednesday). We did find a way to battle back, but in the end things just didn’t go our way and we have had a lot of that this year.”

St. Clairsville, which lost senior Katie Strama to a face injury with just under five minutes to play in the contest, finished the campaign with a 12-11 mark.

Beaver Local hit 22 of 42 field goal attempts for a 52-percent showing while the Red Devils managed just 21 of 66 to finish at 32-percent from the floor.

BEAVER: 13-17-14-17–61

ST. CLAIRSVILLE: 13-7-13-27–60

BEAVER SCORING: Riley Britt 1-4 2-2 5; Brooke Briggs 0-1 0-1 0; Elizabeth Kolkowski 7-7 1-1 15; Madison Cline 3-9 3-4 10; Jensen Riccardo 10-19 8-10 28; Jensen Britt 1-2 0-1 3; Halle Jordan 0-0 0-0 0; Danica Taylor 0-0 0-0 0. TEAM TOTALS: 22-42, 14-19: 61.

ST. CLAIRSVILLE SCORING: Thoburn 3-13 2-4 8; Brookover 0-3 3-4 3; Ma. Malin 4-13 6-6 16; Strama 1-12 0-0 2; Klinkoski 8-19 2-2 18; Me.Malin 5-5 0-0 13; Robinson 0-1 0-0 0. TEAM TOTALS: 21-66, 13-16: 60.

Three-point goals: Beaver 3 (R.Britt, Cline, J.Britt), St. Clairsville 5 (Me.Malin 3, Ma.Malin 2).

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