By Jim flick
The Campbell Memorial High School basketball team kept coming back, but at the end of the night Struthers pulled away for a 57-47 victory.
“A win’s a win,” said Struthers coach Joe Savko. “It was sloppy. We’ve got to tighten up on handling the ball. But we’ve got a group that’s going to keep getting better as the season goes on.”
The first quarter ended in an 8-8 deadlock, but the Wildcats outscored the Red Devils 16-9 in the second quarter to take a 24-17 halftime lead.
But Campbell (0-1) pulled to within two points, 26-24 in the third quarter when sophomore George Billiris sank a 3-pointer. But then Struthers (1-0) went on an 11-2 run and led 37-26 after three quarters.
The Red Devils outscored the Wildcats 21-20 in the fourth quarter.
“As far as scoring, I think we’re going to be a balanced team this year,” Savko said.
Nine players scored for Struthers, led by senior Tommy Kimbrough, the game’s leading scorer with 14 points.
“We had to pick up the intensity and play our basketball game,” Kimbrough said. “My team helped me get the open shots and get the layups in transition.
“We did a good job of playing defense and talking. We maintained our focus, kept our heads up and played our game. We have to make sure we do our jobs out there.”
“I have to play smart, don’t make any mistakes,” said Ray’Quan Phifer, a sophomore who scored 11 points for Struthers. “I made passes and helped my team out.”
Seniors Joe Wilaj and David Stewart each scored eight points for the Wildcats.
“We battled the whole game, but just couldn’t get over a hump,” Campbell coach Mike Szenborn said.
“We had a couple of self-inflicted wounds, and that was the difference. We defended well, but we didn’t execute on offense.”
Struthers, Szenborn said, “rebounded well and made free throws. They played solid defense and made us work for our baskets.”
The Red Devils’ leading scorer was Billiris, who sank two 3-pointers while scoring 11 points.
Also scoring in double figures for Campell was junior Jayle’ll Shorter, who connected for 10 points.