CAMBRIDGE - Who could see this one coming?
Certainly neither coach Troy Baker nor his counterpart Dave Reasbeck both of whom envisioned a 32-minute Division III Sectional Tournament scrap.
Thursday night's matchup proved competitive for two quarters before Baker's Monroe Central Lady Seminoles turned the tide in a big way.
MONROE CENTRAL’S Anna LaFollette (12) dribbles between Martins Ferry defenders Meghen Rose (11) and Kylie Stalder (0) during Thursday night’s Division III tournament game in Cambridge. The Seminoles came out on top.
Monroe methodically pulled away from a cold-shooting Martins Ferry combine and went on to pin a 48-28 loss on Reasbeck's Lady Purple Riders.
The victory elevates Monroe to 15-6 and sends the Seminoles up against West Muskingum's Lady Tornadoes next Wednesday with a district tournament berth on the line.
In Thursday's opener, West M used its superior size advantage to sideline Shenandoah, 56-41.
FERRY and Monroe Central had recently staged a hotly-contested OVAC semifinal clash high atop the Purple City with Baker's quint coming out on top by five points.
The return of Lady Riders' ace Jessica Kinney, who had missed several starts, figured to even the playing field for Thursday's rematch.
That scenario played out through two periods with Monroe taking a 23-19 lead off the floor at halftime.
Ferry netted a field goal to open the third quarter and trailed by just a bucket. The Purple, however, would rarely be heard from again.
"I'm at a loss for words," Reasbeck disclosed. "There wasn't a good feeling in the lockerroom (at halftime). You'd have thought we were down 44 instead of 4. Somehow, we went back out and were totally lethargic. It's very difficult trying to figure out why."
Monroe experienced no such adversity, led by junior Chelsie Roberts who almost personally ousted the Belmont County club.
Roberts registered 11 third period points, then added six more in the fourth enroute to tallying a game-high 22.
"We played more zone tonight than our previous game vs. Ferry," Baker reported. "We've done an outstanding defensive job in several games this season. Tonight was definitely one of those efforts."
The Lady Noles' bench boss was particularly pleased with Thursday's result. "Ferry's a team that can put up points in a hurry," Baker related. "Holding them to 28 is really quite an accomplishment."
Ferry, however, went a long way eliminating itself, finishing with likely the team's most frightening shooting numbers of the season.
The Lady Riders finished 11-of-41 from the field and were an equally anemic 3-of-15 from the foul line.
"At one point, we were a 9-2 team with lots of momentum," Reasbeck declared. "To finish up at 10-10 is obviously a huge disappointment."
Kinney tallied a team-leading 10 markers with classmate Kylie Stalder providing seven-point support.
Junior Chelsie Tewanger backed Roberts with nine lightings via a trio of three-point buckets. Roberts nabbed eight rebounds. Ferry sophomore Ashlei Ray collected eight stray shots. Monroe was charted for nine turnovers with Ferry guilty of a dozen giveaways.
Next Wednesday's Monroe-West M tipoff is scheduled for 7 p.m.
MARTINS FERRY (28) - Hanson 0, 0-0 0; West 0, 0-0 0; Webb 0, 0-0 0; Oberdick 0, 0-0 0; Suriano 0, 0-0 0; Lee 0, 0-0 0; Rose 1, 1-4; Stalder, M. 1, 1-2 4; Ray 2, 0-3 4; Stalder, K. 3, 0-0 7; Kinney 4, 1-6 10. Totals - 11-41, 3-15. MONROE CENTRAL (48) - Stimpert 0, 0-0 0; Robey 0, 0-0 0; Ball 0, 0-0 0; Digity, A. 0, 0-0 0; Bettinger 0, 0-0 0; Digity, C. 0, 0-1 0; LaFollette 2, 0-2 4; Stephens 1, 1-2 4; Parks 2, 0-0 4; Habig 2, 1-2 5; Tewanger 3, 0-2 9; Roberts 8, 5-6 22. Totals - 18-35, 7-15.
Three-point goals. Martins Ferry - Kinney, K. Stalder, M. Stalder. Monroe Central - Tewanger (3), Roberts, Stephens.
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