Miles’ 30 lifts Martins Ferry past Bellaire
BELLAIRE — Martins Ferry and Bellaire went toe-to-toe for a quarter-and-a-half Friday night in boys’ high school basketball action, but the visiting Purple Riders closed the first half on a 7-3 run and then outpointed the hosts 17-8 in the third panel for a 74-63 victory inside the ‘House of Champions’ on Guernsey Street.
The game was deadlocked six times in the first quarter and once in the second before Martins Ferry (2-4) made its move. Leading 28-27 with just under three minutes left in the opening half, Logan Smith’s offensive putback ahead of the buzzer gave the Purple Riders a 35-30 advantage at the break.
“I really liked the way we played tonight, I did. I thought we were aggressive. I thought we played much smarter,” a pleased Martins Ferry head coach Derek Edwards said. “I think we found ourselves a little on offensive. We took more shots tonight, which is what we wanted to see.”
Jaizen Miles, Martins Ferry’s 6-4 junior, had 11 points in the first half but exploded for 10 in the decisive third quarter in finishing with a game-best 30. He also pulled down a dozen rebounds to complete a double-double.
“Stellar, stellar performance. His teammates were able to get him the ball and he had a very good game,” Edwards praised. “He was 12-for-16 from the free throw line.”
However, Edwards also praised the work of his other players in realizing Miles was having one of those nights.
“With people paying a lot of attention to (Logan) Smith, that opens up a lot for Jaizen. Give a lot of credit to his teammates, but ‘wow’ did he have a good night.”
Smith, a 6-5 senior, also produced a double-double with 14 markers and 10 boards. He also blocked half-a-dozen shots. Davian Ray chipped in 19 points, including a 7 of 10 effort from the charity stripe. He also drained two threes in the second half which opens up the middle for the big guys.
“That’s a key for us,” Edwards said of Ray’s play. “We want to shoot the three and tonight we were able to make some. That always helps an offense when you have two nice players inside and you’re able to make shots from the perimeter.”
Martins Ferry, which led 52-38 after three periods, extended the margin to 17 early in the fourth and seemed to be in control. However, the Big Reds (3-5) had one last push.
When Andrew Littell sliced to the basket and laid the ball off the glass, Bellaire had cut the deficit to five, 62-57, with 2:45 remaining to play, but that would be as close as they would get as Martins Ferry would mesh 10 of 11 free throws down the stretch to hold on.
“We struggled a little in the fourth quarter. Bellaire made some plays but we were able to fight that off and close out the game,” Edwards noted.
When asked if fatigue could’ve set in with his team playing short-handed due to a quarantine situation, Edwards shrugged it off.
“Maybe but we’ve been playing for two months. These are young kids, they shouldn’t be tired, but they sucked it up and I’m very proud of our effort tonight,” he added.
Senior David Zwack and Cash evenly divided 32 points for Bellaire. Cash also grabbed 12 rebounds while Creed Rhodes had 13 points and nine boards.
“They made plays and we didn’t. That’s all there is too it,” Bellaire head coach J.R. Battista acknowledged. “The game of basketball isn’t a hard game. You’ve got to make some shots. You’ve got to get some stops on defense and you’ve got to get some rebounds. In the third quarter they did all of those and we didn’t.
“In the fourth quarter we’re in the double bonus for much of the quarter and we cut it to five,” he recalled. “We had two foul shots and missed them both. They ran off five straight points and stretched it (the lead) back to 10. That was the ballgame.”
Both teams were guilty of 13 turnovers, with eight of Martins Ferry’s coming in the final quarter. The Purple Riders led 39-37 off the glass.
Martins Ferry hosts Caldwell tonight at 6 in a varsity-only contest. Bellaire hosts Harrison Central Tuesday with JV action beginning at 6.
Martins Ferry 74, Bellaire 63
MARTINS FERRY (74) — Miles 9 12-16 30; Smith 6 2-4 14; Ray 5 7-10 19; Flesch 1 0-0 3; P. Hores 2 1-2 5; Shriver 1 0-0 3; Totals: 24-49 22-32. BELLAIRE (63) — Zwack 5 2-4 16; Cash 6 4-5 16; Rhodes 6 1-2 13; Kesterson 3 0-4 6; Ward 2 0-0 5; Dowler 2 1-2 5; A. Littell 1 0-0 2; Totals: 25-57 8-17
3-Point Goals: Martins Ferry 4 (Ray 2, Flesch, Shriver). Bellaire 5 (Zwack 4, Ward)