Lindsay Coyne doesn't think her Martins Ferry girls' basketball team is getting the respect it should around the Ohio Valley.
Following Wednesday night's thrill-packed, 43-42, triumph over homestanding Union Local in a Wheeling Hospital/OVAC Class 4-A semifinal at 'The Hangar' in Morristown, she hopes people start taking notice of the 13-8 Purple Riders.
With the much-cherished victory, third-seeded Martins Ferry will battle No. 1 seed Steubenville Saturday afternoon at 3 for the title inside Ohio University Eastern's Health and Physical Education Building. Big Red (14-5) eliminated Oak Glen Tuesday night.
MARTINS FERRY’S Jessica Kinney drives to the past as Union Local’s Kayla Doty (34) defends. The Jets’ Cori Medley looks on.
"I give my girls all the credit," Coyne said. "They were pumped up and ready to go. They have brought it day-in and day-out, but I don't think they get enough credit from the people around the valley, or anybody else.
"They've been playing great basketball ... team basketball," she continued. "They are just gritting it out and paying attention and executing our offense very well."
Wednesday's see-saw affair had eight deadlocks and 10 lead changes as the two Buckeye 8 rivals went toe-to-toe for 32 minutes.
Senior standout Jessica Kinney put the visitors ahead 40-39 with a drive to the basket, and the No. 2-seeded Jets (14-7) misfired on four consecutive free throws before Martins Ferry sealed the deal.
With the visitors clinging to the precarious one point margin and in control of the basketball, Coyne opted to run some precious time off the clock as Megan Rose and Kinney kept a handle on the orange sphere.
Union Local finally fouled, but Rose, the Purple Riders' senior point guard, tickled the twine on 3 of 4 attempts in the final 36.1 seconds to give her team a 43-39 advantage.
Union Local's Cory Medley banked home a three-pointer at the buzzer for the final margin of victory.
"There was a lot of pressure on me, but I made the shots," Rose said. "I felt a little better the second time at the line after I made the first two."
She said winning the OVAC title has been a goal of the five seniors since they started playing together four years ago.
"It feels great. It's a big accomplishment for us. Winning the championship is something that we've wanted since the very beginning of our careers."
Kinney, a returning all-stater and 1,000-point scorer, led all scorers in the game with 19 points. Rose finished with seven counters, but also charted five steals and four assists. Kinney pulled down five rebounds.
Union Local head coach Drew Greenwood said the first quarter got his team behind early and the missed free throws down the stretch didn't help.
"We just weren't able to get into the flow of things there early on," he recalled. "Most of our troubles in the first quarter were because of self destruction. We didn't respond to some situations that could've put us in a good spot."
Medley, a junior, paced the Jets with 18 points. Senior Dallas Montag added 15 and classmate Kayla Doty had eight. Only one other player scored for the hosts.
Coyne was also very pleased with the way her bench performed, especially freshman Tyrah King. The frosh grabbed a career-high 10 rebounds, including half of them in the second quarter. She also added three crucial points.
"My little freshman came in and did a great job of rebounding the ball tonight," Coyne praised. "That was a huge key in our victory, but everyone played well."
Union Local will now journey to New Manchester to take on Oak Glen in the consolation finals.
MARTINS FERRY (43) - Kinney 6 5-6 19; Rose 2 3-4 7; K. Stalder 0 2-2 2; M. Stalder 2 0-0 6; Oberdick 1 0-0 2; Suriano 0 0-0 0; DeLeonardis 1 0-0 2; King 1 1-2 3; Lee 1 0-0 2; Totals: 14-29 11-14. UNION LOCAL (42) - Medley 7 1-2 18; Montag 6 0-3 15; Doty 3 1-2 8; Stiles 0 0-0 0; Collins 0 1-2 1; Delaney 0 0-0 0; Russell 0 0-0 0; Rucker 0 0-2 0; Totals: 16-34 3-11.
Three-Point Goals: Martins Ferry 4 (Kinney 2, M. Stalder 2); Union Local 7 (Medley 3, Montag 3, Doty)
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