BELLAIRE - Morgan Stalder drained a 2-pointer from the left wing as the buzzer sounded Saturday afternoon to give Martins Ferry a 45-43 triumph over St. John in girls' high school basketball action at 'The Greenhouse.'
They were Stalder's seventh and eighth points of the game and her only bucket in the fourth quarter.
''That was an excellent Christmas present,'' Purple Riders head coach Lindsay Coyne beamed following the victory.
MARTINS FERRY’S Tyrah King goes up for a shot as St. John’s Lindsey Froehlich (left) defends. Also pictured is Marissa Rose (21). Additional images may be found at cu.timesleaderonline.com
''Especially for our one senior, that shot couldn't have happened to a better person. She's worked extremely hard day in and day out and never complained.''
With the game knotted at 43-43, Martins Ferry had the ball with 5.5 seconds left and Stalder inbounding the ball on the end line behind Ferry's basket.
The ball made its way in to Vanessa Ray and then back to Stalder, who immediately lofted a shot that tickled the twine and sent the Purple Riders bench storming the court in celebration.
''She shot without hesitation,'' Coyne said. ''Tyrah (King), Morgan and Malyah (Coleman) all wanted the ball in that moment.''
But it was Stalder who came away the hero, giving Martins Ferry its second victory of the season in seven tries.
''That was a play everyone was involved in,'' Coyne said.
It wasn't a surprise the team that had the ball last won. The contest was nip and tuck throughout, featuring 11 ties and numerous lead changes.
The Irish (3-5) had the momentum to start the final quarter thanks to Taylor Lowe's jumper that gave her team a 37-33 lead.
Coleman, who finished with 10 points, trimmed the lead to 37-35 at the 6:20 mark with a jumper and then gave Ferry the lead, 38-37, with a 3-point play at the 6:01 mark.
King scored with 5:20 remaining to make the score 40-37 before Marissa Rose drained a jumper to cut the deficit to one, 40-39.
Following a St. John time out with 5:11 left, Coleman hit the second of two free throws to make the score 41-39. Rose tied the score with 3:51 left when she hit a pair of her own from the charity stripe.
Coleman hit another free throw with 3:32 left to give Ferry a 42-1 lead. Then, with 3:02 remaining, King hit one of two free throws to make the score 43-41.
The final tie came with about 2:30 remaining when St. John's Emily LeMasters made her way inside for a layup to make the score 43-43.
''The kid made a good shot, give her credit,'' St. John head coach Robert ''Bubba'' Kapral said. ''The difference between us and Ferry was they were a little smarter. We played hard, but not smart. We gave up the baseline all day long How many did King have? 30?''
Actually, King scored 24, with 15 coming in the first half and six straight coming to start the game.
''That can be Tyrah every game,'' Coyne said. ''Her biggest thing is she gets down on herself.
''We know her potential. We know she can do that every single game. She's unbelievably talented. She's strong and can handle the ball.
''That was obviously her best game and it couldn't have happened at a better time. I think that will really help boost her confidence.''
Rose again paced the Irish with a game-high 26 points before fouling out with a couple minutes left in the game.
Martins Ferry returns to action next Saturday at home against Barnesville. St. John, meanwhile, plays at Bellaire on Friday.
Martins Ferry 45, St. John 43
MARTINS FERRY (45) - Monroe 0 0-0 0; Stalder 4 0-0 8; Johnson 0 0-0 0; Coleman 3 4-7 10; Skvarka 0 0-0 0; Bridges 1 1-2 3; King 10 4-12 24; Ray 0 0-0 0. Totals 18 9-21 45. ST. JOHN (43) - Froehlich 2 1-4 5; Porter 0 1-3 1; Lowe 4 0-3 8; Rose 8 10-12 26; Johnson 0 0-0 0; LeMasters 1 1-3 3; Santinoceto 0 0-0 0. Totals 15 13-25 43.
3-Point Goals: None