Their mojo has gone missing and Martins Ferry's Dave Reasbeck is sending out an all-points bulletin.
"I wish I could put my finger on it but I can't," an obviously frustrated Reasbeck declared following a 54-51 Lady Riders' Monday night home court loss to Steubenville inside the Tolbert Gymnasium.
Just prior to Christmas, Ferry had secured a 60-49 triumph over Phil Casinelli's Jefferson County quint at the Crimson Center.
MARTINS FERRY’S Meghan Rose makes a pass as Steubenville’s Emily Masloski defends during Monday’s game inside the Tolbert Gymnasium. Additional images may be found at cu.timesleaderonline.com
But there would be no repeat conquest for the Purple who found themselves facing a 10-point fourth quarter deficit Monday before staging a furious rally that came up short.
"We're not the same team (today) we were when we beat them at Steubenville," Reasbeck stated. "I think we've undergone a mental regression. Somehow, we have to get that spark back."
Ferry exhibited fourth quarter evidence of a revival, twice pulling within a single point of the visitors. Steubenville, however, sealed the deal, converting clutch free throws.
STEUBENVILLE (54) - Young 0, 0-0 0; Wilson 0, 0-0 0; Taylor 1, 2-2 4; Barker 1, 4-4 6; Boda 3, 0-0 6; Meyer 2, 2-2 8; Orellana 1, 8-12 10; Masloski 6, 5-5 20. Totals - 14-36, 21-25. MARTINS FERRY (51) - Oberdick 0, 0-0 0; Suriano 0, 2-2 2; Lee 1, 0-0 3; Stalder, M. 2, 0-0 6; Ray 4, 0-0 8; Rose 4, 0-0 9; Stalder, K. 2, 6-6 10; Kinney 5, 3-3 13. Totals - 18-55, 11-11.
Three-point goals. Steubenville - Masloski (3), Meyer (2). Martins Ferry - M. Stalder (2), Lee, Rose.
"That's the best we've shot (21-25) at the line all season and we needed every one," a pleased Casinelli exclaimed. "We opted to not play zone tonight and I thought our man (defense) was very effective. We made it difficult for Ferry to get open looks."
The two teams were locked up at 12 following one quarter. Big Red senior Hannah Meyer twice went deep and savvy sophomore point guard Emily Masloski netted seven points, sending Ferry to the lockerroom on the short end of a 27-19 halftime deficit.
Steubenville maintained command, taking a 38-31 uppehand to the final eight minutes.
Forcing four Big Red turnovers and converting them into points, the Purple came on to pull within one point on two occassions, the final time at 48-47 when junior Jessica Kinney connected from the baseline with under two minutes to play.
Big Red, however, had an answer as senior Veronica Orellana and sophomore Mytia Barker combined to net six free throws to stem the tide.
"(Last week's) loss at Buckeye Local seemed to kill our confidence," Reasbeck noted. "Right now, it's like pulling teeth. We're in a lull and we've got to work ourselves out of it."
Falling to 8-4, Ferry returns to action Thursday at Bellaire. Big Red, improving to 9-5, hosts city rival Steubenville Central the same night.
Masloski produced a game-leading 20 points and was supported by Orellana'a 10-point output. Meyer scored eight.
Kinney registered a team-leading 13 markers. Kylie Stalder tallied 10 and Meghan Rose netted nine. Off the bench, sophomore Ashley Ray totaled eight points and a game-high 11 rebounds.
Steubenville captured the jayvee game, too.
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