STEUBENVILLE There was more to Steubenville's 52-49 revenge triumph against visiting Martins Ferry on Thursday than free throws.
But make no mistake, Big Red's efforts at the line and the Riders' continuing struggles in that department played a major factor.
Steubenville, led by Mytiah Barker, finished 19 of 28 at the line while the visitors hit only 50 percent (11-for-22), a key contributor in the three-point margin.
MARTINS FERRY’S Dionna Lee dribbles the ball upcourt during Thursday night’s game in the Crimson Center. The Purple Riders fell to Steubenville.
It was Barker who proved unshakeable at the stripe.
She had only four points at the half but finished with a team-high 18, bolstered by a 10 of 12 showing at the line. She added eight rebounds.
"Mytiah stepped up a lot tonight," Steubenville coach Phil Casinelli said. "She attacked the basket and basically took over the game."
She teamed with Emily Masloski, still not 100 percent in returning from an ankle injury in making repeated drives at the hoop. Masloski finished with just six points on 2 of 13 shooting, but her court presence, along with Barker, was able to open up opportunities for their teammates.
On top of that, Big Red owned the paint, repeatedly creating second and third-shot opportunities.
Steubenville owned a 33-26 advantage off the glass, including 15-7 on the offensive end.
Jessica Kinney finished with a game-high 33, including 9 of 14 at the line, but the next highest-scoring Purple Riders' player was Kylie Stalder with six.
Ferry coach Lindsay Coyne couldn't fault the effort but noted that, admittedly, the free-throw shooting needs some work.
"Our free throw shooting has to improve," Coyne said. "We practice in the gym but the girls just need to step up and be confident.
"We shot 50 percent and lost by three and that's happened to us a few times this year.
"They play so hard every game. I can't fault our effort."
Freshman Lysaih Rice had a strong showing off the bench for Big Red, pouring in nine points and grabbing seven rebounds. Taylor Young added seven points.
The road doesn't get any easier for the Purple Riders, who've suffered back-to-back road losses in Jefferson County (Indian Creek and Big Red) and sit with a 10-8 record.
Next up is a Saturday meeting with a tough John Marshall team. Coyne's knows the importance of the game with the cutoff for the OVAC tournament right around the corner.
"Our schedule has been brutal. We've played three games a week the last few weeks and we've had to compete at our highest level because there hasn't been a let up," Coyne said. "That should help us out come tourney time."
Big Red (13-4) meanwhile is off until Monday when they play host to New Philadelphia.
MARTINS FERRY (49) Kinney 11 9-14 33; K.Stalder 3 0-2 6; M.Stalder 0 1-2 1; Rose 1 0-0 2; Oberdick 0 0-0 0; King 2 0-0 4; Lee 0 0-0 0; Suriano 1 1-2 3; DeLeonardis 0 0-0 0; Totals: 18-42 11-22 49.
STEUBENVILLE (52) E.Maslowski 2 2-3 6; Young 2 1-2 7; Barker 4 10-12 18; Bodo 1 1-2 3; Taylor 2 0-0 5; Wilson 0 1-2 1; Rice 3 3-5 9; H.Maslowski 1 1-2 3; Totals: 15-49 19-28 52.
Three-point Goals: Kinney 2. Young 2, Taylor.
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