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Ferry girls surge past Steubenville, 59-40

T-L Photo/KIM NORTH MARTINS FERRY’S Richella Spielvogel, right, and Steubenville’s Makayla Abram battle for a loose ball during Thursday night’s game high atop the Purple City inside Tolbert Gymnasium. Looking on are Purple Riders Madison Ging (4) and Jaden Stalder (3). Martins Ferry won, 59-40.

MARTINS FERRY — A tenacious half-court defense led to some easy baskets during a seven-minute stretch than spanned the middle two quarters Thursday night as Martins Ferry improved to 2-0 with a 59-40 victory over debuting Steubenville high atop the Purple City inside Tolbert Gymnasium.

The teams were deadlocked at 11 after the first eight minutes, but the hosts outscored Big Red by a whopping 35-13 margin in the second and third quarters to pull away.

“That’s what our mantra is. We’re preaching defense,” Martins Ferry second-year head coach Paul Matuska said. “We’re still young, so we figure if we can get them to play good, hard defense, we’ve got a chance to win every night out.”

A pair of free throws by junior Jaden Stalder jump-started the late first-half surge. Freshman Maria Clark added three points and Richella Spielvogel a basket before the half ended.

Junior Madison Ging sparked the third-quarter outburst with 12 of her game-best 17 points.

“It wasn’t so much Madison, we told all of them that they had to move better on offense,” Matuska said of his halftime talk. “We’re a much better team when we move on offense. It’s hard to score when you’re standing around.”

Steubenville went a span of 7-minutes, 13-seconds from late in the second quarter to just past the midway point of the third panel without a field goal. It was 0-for-12 and had 12 turnovers.

“Over that seven minutes, there weren’t that many missed shots,” he noted. “They were straight turnovers. We had keys going into the game and one of them was to just take care of the basketball. When we get the ball into the halfcourt, we execute well. But, we as a coaching staff are going to have to find a way to get the ball entered into our offense. We had way too many turnovers.

“Our goal is to turn the other team over more than we turn it over. We try and double that, but they (Ferry) took care of the basketball tonight and we didn’t.”

Big Red was charted with 21 turnovers compared to 13 for Martins Ferry.

The hosts built a game-high lead of 24 late in the third quarter before holding a commanding 46-24 bulge.

Steubenville made things interesting in the early portion of the final chapter as it outscored Martins Ferry 8-0 to pull to within 46-32, but that would be as close as it would get.

Spielvogel finished with 13 points and eight rebounds. Stalder added 11 markers while Clark had eight off the bench.

“It’s about us getting better every day … getting better every week,” Matuska added. “We’re taking it day-by-day and see what happens.”

Abram had 15 to lead Steubenville. Madison Fields had 14. They also grabbed eight and six rebounds, respectively.

“It could have, but they just outplayed us,” Lombardo said of his team’s debut and Martins Ferry having a game under its belt. “We knew it was going to be a tough game. I felt pretty confident coming in that we wouldn’t get outhustled, and we did.

“They’ve got everyone back from last year, but so do we. They were more prepared and I will take full responsibility for that,” he stressed.

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