So far, so good in Lindsay Coyne's head coaching debut.
Thursday night inside the Tolbert Gymnasium high atop the Purple City, Martins Ferry turned up the defensive pressure early on and coasted to a 55-42 Buckeye 8 girls' basketball victory over visiting Buckeye Local.
With the win, the Purple Riders improved to 4-0 and will travel to Cadiz to meet Harrison Central Monday.
MARTINS FERRY’S Jessica Kinney looks for room to shoot as Buckeye Local’s Kayla Fillipovich defends Thursday night at the Tolbert Gymnasium. Kinney netted 23 points in the Purple Riders’ win.
Although the victory wasn't a masterpiece by any means, the former Martins Ferry and Wheeling Jesuit standout doesn't care.
"A win is a win," she said with a huge smile. "In the big picture, as long as that 'W' is in that column, that's all we care for right now.
"The girls are playing hard," Coyne continued. "Their intensity, hustle and heart in these first four games has never stopped and, as a coach, you can't ask for any more than that. I'm proud of the way we've played thus far."
Deadlocked at 6-all, the hosts turned up the defensive pressure a notch, and the Panthers (0-4) didn't respond.
By the time the first-quarter buzzer sounded, Willie Luther found his squad trailing 14-6.
"We just need to value the basketball on each possession and try to build off of each possession," he lamented after watching the Panthers turn the ball over 27 times, including 14 in the first half - seven in each quarter.
"I thought we did a much better job concentrating at the free throw line and converting shots when we had our opportunities, but we just gave away too many possessions by turning the ball over," Luther added. "Some of those turnovers led to easy baskets."
Martins Ferry's Megan Rose created most of the havoc in the first eight minutes as she charted four of her five steals in the period. Three of the thefts led directly to fastbreak baskets as she tallied all six of her points in the panel.
"Megan was a little firecracker in the first quarter," Coyne said of her senior floor general.
"She was in the deny mode and read where the ball was going."
Classmate Jessica Kinney matched Rose point-for-point in the first quarter, but was a steady force the entire game. She finished with a game-best 23 points. Ashlei Ray added eight markers and Kylie Stalder six. Shaina Oberdick chipped in five off the bench.
Alexis Valuska netted a team-high dozen points for Buckeye Local. Kayla Fillipovich, playing on basically one leg due to a knee injury, had nine markers.
Martins Ferry won the JV contest, 36-11.
BUCKEYE LOCAL (42) - Fillipovich 4 1-2 9; Balk 2 1-2 5; Valuska 4 4-4 12; Fedorko 0 4-4 4; Zeroski 0 0-0 0; Swiger 2 0-0 4; Czuchran 0 1-2 1; Leonard 2 1-2 5; Smith 0 0-0 0; Morrocco 0 0-0 0; Long 0 1-2 1; Totals: 14 13-18. MARTINS FERRY (55) -- Kinney 8 7-10 23; K. Stalder 2 2-5 6; M. Stalder 2 0-0 4; Rose 3 0-0 6; A. Ray 4 0-0 8; Oberdick 2 1-3 5; Suriano 0 1-2 1; DeLeonardis 1 0-0 2; Lee 0 0-0 0; Scheel 0 0-0 0; Staats 0 0-0 0; King 0 0-0 0; V. Ray 0 0-0 0; Totals: 22 11-20.
Three-Point Goals: none
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