Monteroso seven points shy of Jim Jackson; St. C senior’s career closing

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St. Clairsville’s Dan Monteroso

In recent weeks, St. Clairsville’s Dan Monteroso has been referred to as
a monster, and rightfully so. The comments have all been meant in a
good way of course, in regards to his exceptional athletic abilities. The Purdue-bound WR is a 2,000-point scorer in hoops…


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In recent weeks, St. Clairsville’s Dan Monteroso has been referred to as a monster, and rightfully so. The comments have all been meant in a good way of course, in regards to his exceptional athletic abilities.

Monteroso has once again helped lift the Red Devils (22-2) to regional play thanks to an extraordinary 40-point performance when his team needed him most. This is not something the Purdue-bound football star is unaccustomed to; rather it has been a regular occurrence over the past four years for the four-year starter.

St. Clairsville trailed the Carrollton Warriors 16-6 after the first quarter and 26-17 at the intermission. This is when St. Clairsville’s super hero decided enough was enough.

“At halftime, I was thinking I better score every time I touch it or this will be my last game,” Monteroso said.

Monteroso was held scoreless in the opening stanza, but managed to get going in the second frame, totaling 11 points to keep the Red Devils within striking distance. The second half flurry by the 6-foot-3 senior, included a four-point play, a loose ball steal and punch out, and 19 consecutive points for his squad.

For years, St. Clairsville has tried to get over the hump and win a district championship, but always came up a little bit short against some stiff competition (Steubenville, Dover, Tri-Valley, and Zanesville). With the win over Carrollton, the Red Devils will be making consecutive trips to Ohio University’s Convocation Center for regional play.

Last season, Monteroso carried the Red Devils to the state tournament with some impressive individual performances. As a junior, he had games of 40, 29, 23, and 29 points leading up to the state tournament. However, the run ended in an unsettling, 61-27, thrashing at the hands of Elida in the state semis.

On the state’s biggest stage, in front over 12,000 people, St. Clairsville came out in complete awe of the situation. The Red Devils, usually a deadly outside shooting team, ended the afternoon shooting an uncharacteristic 19 percent from the field and 13 percent (4-of-29) behind the arc.

As for Monteroso, it was without question, his worst game in a St. Clairsville uniform. He scored just six points on 3-of-10 shooting, and was a non-factor for the most part, which was just days after being named Division II State Co-Player of the Year.

“You’re 100 percent right,” Monteroso said of his less than stellar showing. “It was embarrassing. I never want to make myself, my team, and my coaches look like that ever again. I took it upon myself to make sure it will never happen again.”

Monteroso has done just that and it started on the gridiron. The Red Devils ran off 14 straight victories before dropping a hard-fought, 46-36, decision to Clarksville Clinton-Massie in the Division IV championship game.

In the semis, against the defending state champions, Creston Norwayne, Monteroso put on a show in front of the large crowd at Massillon’s Paul Brown Tiger Stadium. He simply dominated the game from the wide receiver position leading his squad into the state finals by catching 10 balls for 264 yards and two touchdowns and chipping in two interceptions (one on the goal line), a sack, five tackles, and a touchdown springing block for good measure.

Following the storybook football season, which concluded with a state runner-up and 1st Team All-Ohio honors, the Red Devils quickly started the basketball season with high hopes returning its entire roster from last year’s record-setting (23-3) squad, which was the most wins in school history. In addition, the Devils beefed up the out-of-conference slate with the likes of Cleveland St. Ignatius, Columbus Africentric, Upper Arlington, Cambridge, Claymont, and Steubenville.

The school’s all-time leading scorer, Monteroso, wasted little time getting his basketball legs under him scoring 25 points against a very good Columbus Africentric team in the team’s second game of the year. The game ended in a 61-58 defeat thanks to an NBA-range three-point shot as time expired. The loss also snapped St. Clairsville’s 23-game home winning streak.

When his team has needed him most, he has been there for them all year to save the day. Monteroso scored 31 points in a comeback win over Cambridge hitting the game-winner in overtime at the horn. The senior tallied 35 points in a win over Division I Upper Arlington, and 40 points including 26 in the second half on 11-of-15 shooting to help propel the Red Devils to a come from behind victory over Indian Creek on the road. St. Clairsville was handed one of its three defeats at Indian Creek a year ago.

Though, perhaps his best performance of the season came in the sectional final, scoring 45 points and grabbing 21 rebounds to help the Red Devils beat Steubenville for the third time this season. A week earlier, the Eastern District DII POY, torched Big Red for 28 points capturing consecutive OVAC Tournament Championships.

The amazing thing about all of these ridiculous numbers, which includes going over the 2,000-point mark in a loss to Division I power Cleveland St. Ignatius (24 points), is the other team knows he is the guy that needs contained. Every opponent over the past four years has prepared for him, but the problem is, very few have been able to solve the equation.

“Honestly, I just want to keep playing and I’ll do whatever it takes.”

Monteroso is averaging nearly 27 points and 10 rebounds per game and now has 2,321 points (687 this season) for his career, which is just seven points behind Jimmy Jackson. If he gets his average, he could move into 16th all-time in the state of Ohio after Thursday night’s encounter with New Philadelphia.

It’s not all just individual numbers when talking about St. Clairsville’s Monteroso, this kid is a proven winner. St. Clairsville is (82-13) on the hardwood since his arrival with five of those defeats coming his freshman year. In addition, the Red Devils were (38-10) on the gridiron as Monteroso started all four seasons.

However, the numbers, statistics, and headlines mean very little to this intelligent and humble young man. It’s all about the journey and the friendships established along the way.

“Everyone knows what the goal is,” Monteroso stated. “And the past four years of my life have been amazing. The city of St. Clairsville has been the best place to grow up. The people I’ve met here will be lifelong friends of mine.”

The four years Monteroso speaks of have been amazing. In just the past two seasons, St. Clairsville has gone to the state golf tournament back-to-back years, has had consecutive trips to the regional baseball tournament (lost 10-9 in last year’s regional final to the eventual state champion Wheelersburg), has had highly successful cross country and track and field programs (Alyssa Robinson, state shot put champion), has finished state football runner up, and has had the aforementioned basketball success.

At a school like St. Clairsville, Division I athletes don’t show up everyday in comparison to schools near major metropolitan areas. Currently, the Belmont County seat has four future D1 athletes in Monteroso, Michael Ferns (Michigan FB), Robinson (Penn State), and Amy Castle (UNC Ashville, track and cross country).

The school also got significant national recognition this past fall for a play honoring a kid that just lost his father. Ferns took a handoff and broke free for what appeared to be an easy touchdown, but the junior who is rated one of the best prospects in the country, stepped out of bounds at the 1-yard line. The act of selflessness allowed freshman Logan Thompson to come in and score a touchdown in honor of his father.

Needless to say, things in St. Clairsville have been at an all-time high since Monteroso entered the high school hallways. The Red Devils have enjoyed plenty of athletic success in their history, but nothing to this magnitude.

The Class of 2013 is a special class and many around the Ohio Valley pointed to this group of kids coming up through the ranks to be special, but we have all seen the “junior high stars” who end up fading out for one reason or another.  We have all seen it many times before especially in smaller communities, but this group has taken on the high expectations and exceeded them.

Monteroso hasn’t acted alone despite some of his heroic efforts. Classmates Riley Carlton, Adam Jefferies, Jerrid Marhefka, Dylan Campbell, and Jared Burghy have also played a big part in terms of the basketball success along with junior Joel Giffen. Let us not forget head coach Kim Clifford, who has been a staple of the St. Clairsville basketball program since the 1991-1992 season.

“Coach Clifford has been amazing to me,” Monteroso noted. “He treats me like a son. He has taught me so much. I would go to war for that man. And all my teammates are the reason why I have success. They are great and without them we wouldn’t be here. I love all of them.”

The St. Clairsville standout also points to another unsung hero.

“I want to thank my younger brother Mike,” Monteroso said. “He’s always the one in the gym with me. He’s had to deal with me for the last four years. My parents and sister have been there for me too.”

Monteroso isn’t the best long-term basketball prospect in the state of Ohio, but he just may be the most valuable player and teammate to any one team left in the tournament. He may not win Mr. Basketball, but to the people in St. Clairsville, Dan Monteroso will not soon be forgotten. The numbers and wins he has put up, the fans he has wowed, and the younger kids he has inspired in the past four years has been matched by very few. Players of his caliber may come around once a century in a town the size of St. Clairsville.

The Red Devils have had their share of good athletes and professionals over the years, and Monteroso is at the top of the list. He not only was elite in one sport, but two, which is hard to fathom in this day and age where kids are directed to choose one sport at a young age and spend every waking hour trying to chase their or their parents’ dream.

However the year ends for St. Clairsville, the Red Devil faithful will never forget this class of kids not only for their athletic talents, but for the outstanding young men and women they are outside of their sports success. The future Boilermaker is at the top of that list.

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Coming…2013 High School Football

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