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Ferry Holds Off Bellaire, 58-54

Photo by Kristin Mazgaj Martins Ferry’s Logan Smith shoots over Bellaire’s Andrew Littell during the first half of Tuesday’s game inside the Tolbert Gymnasium.

MARTINS FERRY — Logan Smith used his 6-foot-6 frame to come up big Tuesday night, leading homestanding Martins Ferry to a 58-54 repeat win over rival Bellaire at Tolbert Gymnasium.

The multi-talented senior poured in 26 points and grabbed 10 rebounds in helping the Purple Riders win for the third time in nine starts. The Purple Riders beat Bellaire, 74-63, earlier this month.

“Logan is our guy. He has been struggling a little bit,” Ferry coach Derek Edwards said. “He is starting to get his legs now. He gave us a tremendous effort (Tuesday).

“That is what he expects of himself and that is what we expect of him. We fed him and he delivered. I think Logan will continue to produce at a high level as we move forward.”

Each team played minus the services of a key contributor, both nursing injuries. Ferry was without junior Jaizen Miles while Bellaire was missing junior Jaren Cash.

The Purple Riders needed all of Smith’s heroics as J.R. Battista’s boys made a spirited fourth-quarter run. Down eight (45-37) after three periods, Battista employed a fullcourt press to open the final frame.

It was a move that paid big dividends.

Bellaire continued to chip away at the Purple Rider lead, drawing even at 49-all when Big Reds’ senior point guard David Zwack netted two free throws with 2:57 to play. Ferry regained the lead on a three-ball from junior Zach Flesch at the 1:50 mark before Bellaire sophomore Jake Dowling answered with a trey for a 52-all deadlock with 1:30 remaining.

Ferry took the lead for good courtesy of a hoop from hard-working junior Peyton Hores with 1:13 showing. After a Bellaire misfire, Smith goaled for a four-point Purple advantage.

Bellaire failed to connect again from the floor, but Big Reds’ senior Creed Rhodes recorded a steal and bucket for a 56-54 lighting with 29 seconds to play. Ferry’s Colby Shriver was fouled with 5.9 seconds to play. The junior guard calmly drained both attempts to seal the Purple win.

“I am proud of Colby. He had some tough luck on some of his shots (Tuesday) from the floor. But he delivered when we needed him to,” Edwards said. “It was a nice win. Bellaire has been playing very well. We were playing without Jaizen and we just told our team that everybody had to step up, and they did.”

Davian Ray continues his fine play for Ferry. The junior guard was Smith’ top support with 13 points. Shriver netted seven points while Flesch and Hores each produced six. Hores also grabbed eight boards.

“Their length and athleticism were big problems for us. Smith’s size was tough to handle. He played extremely well,” Battista said. “We put ourselves in a hole after three quarters but made a nice run. We just couldn’t get over the hump. Our effort was there.”

Rhodes, exhibiting loads of hustle, led the Big Reds with 13 points while Zwack was next in line with 11 markers. Owen Ward and Dowling evenly divided 18 markers for the visitors. Dowling dropped in a trio of treys in the fourth quarter to help fuel the Bellaire rally.

Martins Ferry led 20-13 after one quarter with Smith netting eight points in the round. Bellaire pared the deficit to 30-26 at intermission as Rhodes come through with seven markers in the stanza.

The Purple Riders have little time to relish the win as the visit Cambridge tonight. The Big Reds, now 5-6 on the campaign, will welcome St. Clairsville Friday.

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