Martins Ferry has big goals set


Times Leader Sports Editor

MARTINS FERRY — The new era of Martins Ferry girls basketball begins this season.

Head coach Dave Reasbeck believes his Purple Riders are going to be embarking on a strong run of success in the coming seasons and the foundation that’s laid down this season will be quite important in what lies ahead.

“We’re starting over and we’re starting fresh,” Reasbeck said. “We have a whole new attitude and team. We’re very positive and energetic from the junior high level up to the varsity. We have some really good, young players.”

The Purple Riders posted a 13-10 record last season, but still qualified for the OVAC Class 3A tournament, falling to Linsly in the semifinals. However, graduation claimed Maria Clark, Hunter Pollock, Eve Agnew, Allarah Jones and Lauren McFarland.

Despite those losses, Reasbeck believes this year’s version of the Riders won’t have to change any of its goals.

“The goals are set high, but we need to learn how to win against the good teams,” Reasbeck said. “We have to be able to compete better and put ourselves in a position to win games, especially when get the full boat of athletes we’re going to have. I have to be more patient and positive because I know what the end game is going to be.”

Ferry, which opened against Shadyside earlier this month, believes it has the skill and athleticism to compete night in and night out. But, Reasbeck also realizes and stressed the Riders are battling against a quite challenging schedule.

“We play the toughest part of our schedule early (in the season),” Reasbeck said. “We play Fort Frye, River and Union Local in the span of a week. That’s good for us, though. I’ve never been one to be real worried about my record or stats. We want to play good teams and see where we are.”

One area of concern for the Riders is depth. Reasbeck believes he could play as many as 10 as the season goes along, but a couple are freshmen who need some seasoning before they’re ready to take the type of roles that Reasbeck envisions them eventually holding.

“I am confident in our first five against anyone’s starting five we play,” Reasbeck said. “Our depth is a concern because we need fo find some players who can help us if foul trouble or injuries become an issue. Some kids are going to see their growth accelerated.”

Taking on a much bigger role will be sophomore point guard Lindsey Best. She’s coming off a solid freshman campaign in which she scored 10 points a game.

“Lindsey will be as good anyone around here,” Reasbeck said. “She’s had a great summer and been as impressive as anyone. She was good last year, but she’s going to be a lot better. She’s much more confident and her outside shot has improved. Plus, she knows she’s our best player, so the sky is the limit.”

Junior Danielle Lude returns after an injury-plagued sophomore campaign healthy and ready to go.

“She’s an entirely new player,” Reasbeck said of Lude. “If Lude is good, we’re good. If she doesn’t score, we’re not going to be very successful. She’s our alpha. We go as she goes.”

Sophomore Lindse Sidon returns and will also take on a bigger role. She’s an adept 3-point shooter, who Reasbeck called “a legitimate weapon.”

Junior Ella McFarland and freshman Charlee Roe will play on the interior for the Riders. McFarland will be a solid defender and has improved her offensive game, but Reasbeck continues to count on her to “do the dirty work.”

As for Roe, Reasbeck loves the motor and energy with which she plays. She’s a talented rebounder and her offensive skills are developing.

Senior Avery Marchbank will be the sixth person and is coming off a solid junior campaign.

Others pushing for varsity minutes are junior Faith Smith, freshmen Kendyl Brandon, Lakyn Call and Maddie Clark.

Senior Jordan Hughes is injured.

Ticketed primarily for jayvee duty are junior Lanee Matz, junior Sarah Shreve, sophomores Averie Hughes, Shaelee Wise, Ayla O’Connell and freshmen Tamaya Morgan, Mikayla Cole and Lexi Carte.

“We’re developing more and more every day,” Reasbeck said. “We’re going to utilize multiple defenses.”

The Riders’ goals are simple. According to Reasbeck, they’d love to see Union Local four times this season. They play twice during the season and they could meet in the OVAC Class 3A and Eastern District title games.

“If we play Union Local four times, it’s a good year,” Reasbeck said. “I am not saying we’ll beat them, but playing them that many times would mean a successful season for us. I honestly think we can compete with anyone, but we have to be able to think we can beat them.”

The Riders’ schedule has some new faces with Fort Frye, Brooke and Monroe Central coming on for a single game.

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