St. C. Defeats Debuting Ferry
MARTINS FERRY — For the second straight game, St. Clairsville had to stage a second-half rally to remain unbeaten.
Friday night, the Red Devils (3-0) stormed from behind to pocket a key Buckeye 8 battle, 56-42, over debuting Martins Ferry inside a COVID-restricted Tolbert Gymnasium.
Head coach Ryan Clifford’s quint trailed by as many as 10 points, 22-12, with five minutes left in the second quarter before going on a 9-2 run to cut that deficit to 24-21 at the break. They outscored the Purple Riders 35-18 after the break, including a 11-2 run that spanned the third and fourth quarters.
“We struggled on offense early. We were just out of rhythm. Their zone bothered us, but our effort on the defensive end of the floor, in particular Drew Sefsick on Logan Smith, was outstanding,” Clifford said.
“I don’t know how many he (Smith) will average on the year, but he was way below that tonight. That was all Drew over and over. We barely had to help him out. He just locked him down.”
Despite eight turnovers in the first 16 minutes, Martins Ferry head coach Derek Edwards was pleased with the way his team started as Jaizen Miles controlled the paint at both ends of the floor and Logan Smith was a shot-blocking machine, but he was not happy with the way they finished.
“You can’t guard a turnover. Turnovers really hurt us there in the first half and allowed them to get back in the game,” Edwards said. “We had a 10-point lead and that’s a credit to St. Clairsville. We have a lot of room to grow.”
St. Clairsville drew even midway through the third quarter when Colin Oberdick scored to make it 31-31. Ryan McCort knocked down a trey on the Red Devils next trip downcourt and they never looked back.
McCort tallied 13 of his game-high 21 points in the decisive second half, while Will Balgo netted 10 of his 15 and Avery Henry scored seven of his nine.
“We kind of lost our legs a little in the third quarter and they (St. Clairsville) hit a couple of bombs, but we knew they would do that,” Edwards said. “They’re going to make some shots, and it snowballed on us. That’s what happens.
“I saw some really bright spots for our team. I really did,” Edwards noted.
Miles had a team-high 14 points to lead Martins Ferry, but only four of those came in the second half when he was saddled with foul troubles. He eventually went to the bench with 2:24 left to play. Miles also grabbed a game-best 12 rebounds while Smith had 12 points, six rebounds and nine blocked shots.
Henry had 11 rebounds for St. Clairsville, which led 34-27 off the glass. Balgo finished with eight while Oberdick and Sefsick grabbed six each. The Red Devils finished with nine turnovers, which was five less than Martins Ferry.
“I just want to thank both administrations for making this game happen,” Clifford said. “It didn’t materialize under 10 o’clock this morning (Friday).”
Edwards echoed Clifford’s thoughts.
“We wanted to play. It didn’t matter who. Ryan and I talked. We wanted to give our kids every opportunity to play. We appreciate them for playing.”
The game came about when Bellaire had to shut things down due to COVID after playing Harrison Central Thursday night. Martins Ferry was scheduled to play at Bellaire last night, while St. Clairsville was to head to Cadiz to meet the Huskies, who also had to shut down basketball operations.
Monroe Central 74, Barnesville 52
WOODSFIELD — Auston Hogue and Garet Cramer each tallied 18 points and Luke Burkhart contributed 16 as Monroe Central ran past visiting Barnesville.
Collin Kroll finished with 10 as four Seminoles reached twin figures.
Colton Hines paced the Shamrocks with 18 points. Jeremy Hunkler added 11 points.
River 51, Toronto 32
TORONTO — Ty Long tallied a game-high 23 points and grabbed five rebounds as River defeated Toronto. Brody Lollathin finished with 10 points, seven rebounds, six assists and five steals for the Pilots while River Thompson finished with 10 points and eight rebounds.
For the Red Knights, Jay Hanlin led with nine points
Beaver Local 40, Indian Creek 39
CALCUTTA — Indian Creek could not hang on to a seven-point lead after three quarters and fell to Beaver Local.
Isaiah Vandine led Indian Creek with 17 points. Landon Pownall scored nine points.