Bellaire rolls by Martins Ferry

BELLAIRE — With an early ‘Meetin’ of the Unbeaten’ looming two days ahead with Wheeling Central, Bellaire head coach John Farrier wanted his team to just go out and take care of its business Monday night.

The Big Reds (5-0) did just that in making their season-debut inside the ‘House of Champions’ with a methodical, 78-24, blowout of visiting Martins Ferry in girls’ high school basketball action.

“We’ve got some big games coming up,” Farrier said. “Wednesday night should be an exciting game as Wheeling Central comes to town.”

Bellaire used several full-court, in-your-face defenses that propelled it to a commanding 18-4 bulge after the first eight minutes. The winners held a 5-4 margin before going on a 13-0 run to end the quarter. A 19-5 scoring advantage in the second period bumped the count to 37-9 at the half.

“We wanted to come out hard and keep our foot on the (gas) pedal,” Farrier explained. “The girls did just that tonight.. There are times when I’m yelling at them to get back on defense and they’re still up pressuring the ball. They’re like pirhanas. They always want to attack like there’s blood in the water.”

The early pressure forced the youthful Purple Riders (0-3) into numerous turnovers.

“We use a 1-2-2 a box and a man-to-man,” Farrier said of the defenses. “It’s worked out pretty good so far for us.”

First-year Martins Ferry head coach Paul Matuska had no excuses for his team’s play.

“This wasn’t what I wanted to see. Absolutely not,” he said of the disappointing outcome. “Our kids are young but there’s no excuse. They need to learn to play if they want to play at this level. They need to step it up. They’re working hard, don’t get me wrong I’m Not down on them, it’s a process that we’ve got to go through.

“Bellaire is a real good team. We just need to get back to work,” he continued.

The Big Reds had four double-digit scorers as senior Cierra Davis led the way with 14. Michaela Flaherty added 13, while Natalie Stoner chipped in a dozen. Also reaching twin figures was Brittany Falcone with 12, all coming in the fourth quarter. Katrina Davis had nine in a reserve role, while Maci Crozier finished with seven.

Madi Ging paced Martins Ferry with a game-high 15. She scored her team’s first 11 points.

Bellaire also held a commanding 48-24 advantage in rebounding as Crozier cleaned the glass 10 times. Katrina Davis had nine and Flaherty seven. Cierra Davis charted six and also added four assists and three steals. Katrina Davis recorded five steals, Crozier and D’Asia Burney had four each. Stoner had four assists.

Richella Spielvogel had five points and 10 rebounds for Martins Ferry, which was guilty of 29 turnovers.

The Purple Riders make their home debut Thursday against St. Clairsville.