All good things have to come to an end sooner or later.
In Lindsay Coyne's case, her 5-0 start as rookie head coach of the Martins Ferry girls' basketball team was abruptly halted Monday night, 44-36, by visiting Union Local high atop the Purple City inside the Tolbert Gymnasium.
"It's still early in the season, and sometimes you learn some things from a loss," the Martins Ferry grad offered. "We can take a look at ourselves and ask 'What can we do to make us better? What can we do to improve?'
UNION LOCAL’S Kayla Doty looks for room to dribble as Martins Ferry’s Jessica Kinney applies pressure during Monday night’s game inside the Tolbert Gymnasium. The Jets grounded the Purple Riders, 44-36.
"It's tough," she said of the setback. "Everyone wants to go undefeated, but it's still a long season. The girls have 24 hours to mope about this loss, and when we come back to practice, we're going to get after it and get ready for St. Clairsville on Thursday."
Despite the win, Union Local (6-3) head coach Drew Greenwood kind of felt lucky to get out of town with the 'W' as his team went 7-minutes, 32-seconds without scoring in a span that covered the middle two periods.
"We're having trouble putting four quarters together, but it's early-on and I think our girls are starting to fit into their roles as a team," he explained. "We're 7 or 8 girls deep and they're starting to figure out what their strengths and weaknesses are as well."
After the Purple Riders took a 4-0 lead, the Jets set sail on a 15-0 run to cap the first eight minutes. Senior Kayla Doty, still playing with a torn ACL, led the surge with seven of her team-high 13 markers.
However, Martins Ferry kept battling and eventually drew even at 17 when the halftime buzzer sounded. Senior Jessica Kinney had 11 of her game-high 20 counters in the first half, including a pair of charity tosses with 25.5 seconds on the clock.
A three-point basket by Megan Rose and a conventional hoop by Dionna Lee gave the Purple a 22-17 advantage with 6:31 left in the third. The hosts, however, would only tickle the twine for two more points in the frame as the Jets soared to a 31-24 edge after 24 minutes of action.
UL's Dallas Montag knocked down a pair of treys and finished with eight points in the quarter.
Martins Ferry cut the deficit to four, 34-30, with 4:36 left to play as Kinney tallied four quick points, but the Jets would mesh 11 of 13 charity tosses in the fourth stanza to seal the verdict.
All told, Union Local connected on 22 of 28 free throws to a mere 7-for-12 for the hosts (5-1). Doty was perfect on all 10 of her attempts, while Cori Medley went 6-for-7. UL entered the game shooting 67 percent as a team from the foul line.
In addition to Doty's baker's dozen, Medley chipped in 12 and Montag nine. Kylie Russell and Abby Collins gave Greenwood some valuable minutes off the bench as they combined for 10 points, five rebounds and Russell charted three steals.
"Kylie might be one of the tougher girls I've coached," he admitted. "She's a tough individual who is coachable. I think her teammates are becoming more comfortable with her style of play because she's playing for them. She's not playing for anyone else besides her teammates."
Rose finished with seven points and half-a-dozen assists.
"We've got to find more options to score," Coyne assessed. "Jess is a heckuva player, but it kind of hurt having Ashlei (Ray) out. We had some other girls that had to step into roles that they are not used to. We're going to keep plugging along."
Martins Ferry travels to St. Clairsville Thursday, while Union Local returns home to entertain Barnesville the same night.
No reserve game was contested, but Martins Ferry won the freshmen boys preliminary game.
UNION LOCAL (44) - Doty 1 10-10 13; Montag 2 3-4 9; Medley 3 6-7 12; Stiles 0 0-0 0; Patton 0 0-0 0; Collins 1 2-5 4; Russell 2 1-2 6; Delaney 0 0-0 0; Butler 0 0-0 0; Rucker 0 0-0 0; Nagy 0 0-0 0; Twarog 0 0-0 0; Totals: 9-30 22-28. MARTINS FERRY (36) - Kinney 7 6-6 20; K. Stalder 1 1-2 3; Rose 3 0-0 7; M. Stalder 1 0-0 2; Oberdick 0 0-0 0; Suriano 0 0-0 0; DeLeonardis 0 0-0 0; Lee 2 0-2 4; King 0 0-2 0; Totals: 14-35 7-12.
Three-Point Goals: Union Local 4 (Montag 2, Doty, Russell); Martins Ferry 1 (Rose)
North can be reached at email@example.com