Homestanding Martins Ferry climbed above the .500 mark Friday via a methodical 78-48 downing of ancient rival Bellaire.
The win was the Purple Riders second impressive nod of the week. Coach Jeff Sabatino's charges stormed past Wheeling Central Wednesday night.
The pair of triumphs propel the Purple to a 4-3 mark on the campaign. Ferry will visit Union Local Tuesday night.
MARTINS FERRY’S Cody Schau goes up for two of his 35 during Friday’s game against Bellaire inside the Tolbert Gymnasium. The Purple Riders improved to 4-3 with a 78-48 victory.
As usual, the Ferrians were paced by senior standout Cody Schau. The 6 ft. 2 leaper poured in a game-high 35 counters. Robert Vargo, a 6 ft. 6 tower of strength, was Schau's top support with 16 points. All told, nine Purple Riders reached the scoring column.
"We have a very good player (Schau) for which Bellaire had no answer," Sabatino said. "We could have done some things better, but all in all it was a good night.
"Bellaire plays hard and is real patient and they, at times, get you to be impatient," continued Sabatino, now in his 37th year of coaching. "We started slowly again which is something we need to work on."
Bellaire, meanwhile, continues to experience growing pains. The youthful Big Reds dropped to 1-8. Things get no easier for Coach J.R. Battista's squad as it welcomes potent St. Clairsville to the All-American Town Tuesday.
"Schau is a super player. He is a good athlete who does a lot of good things," Battista said. "Their size also gives us matchup problems. Ferry has a real nice team."
Martins Ferry, despite its slow getaway, controlled the contest from start to finish.
The Purple Riders used seven Schau lightings to grab a 16-9 edge after one quarter. Kenny Hess countered with six for the scrappy Reds.
Schau and Hess again were their respective team's catalysts in the second session, which still saw Bellaire stayng within striking distance. Schau dropped in nine points in the frame while Hess answered with six as the Purple headed into intermission with a 31-23 advantage.
Ferry came out in the third period employing halfcourt pressure, a move which paid dividends. The Riders hurried the Big Reds into five quick turnovers, enabling the hosts to stretch their advantage to 51-35 entering the final chapter.
Schau sealed the deal with 10 fourth-quarter markers before both teams emptied their benches.
Ferry got 10 points from hard-working senior Tyler Strama, still knocking off rust from a football injury. Vargo grabbed 11 boards while sophomore point guard Jake Barritt dished out nine assists.
Hess was sparkling in defeat, meshing 18 points while Nathan Steele delivered 12 tallies.
"After seven games we now know who we are. We know Taylor (Shane) is not coming back and we are getting our rotations in order," Sabatino said.
Martins Ferry committed seven turnovers while Bellaire was guilty of 15 miscues.
Ferry earned a sweep with a triumph in the reserve contest. James Edwards tossed in 19 for the young Purple while Kyle Rine netted 15.
BELLAIRE (48) - Steele 4, 2-2 12; Ramsey 1, 0-0 2; Callarik 1, 0-0 2; Westlake 2, 1-4 5; Back 2, 0-0 4; Patrone 2, 0-2 4; Hall 0, 1-2 1; Hess 7, 4-6 18. Pickens 0, 0-0 0; Kovalyk 0, 0-0. Totals 19, 8-16. MARTINS FERRY (78) - Schau 11, 13-17 35; Vargo 8, 0-0 16; Strama 4, 2-4 10; Appolloni 2, 0-1 4; Barritt 0, 2-2 2; A. Burress 1, 0-1 2; Sears 0, 0-0 0; D. Schau 1, 1-1 3; Agnew 0, 0-0 0; Bass 0, 0-2 0; Rine 1, 0-0 2; Edwards 1, 2-2 4; J. Burress 0, 0-0 0. Totals 29, 20-31.
Three-point field goals: Bellaire - Steele (2); Martins Ferry - none.