BELLAIRE - Marci Quirk wasn't pleased with the way her Bellaire team played in the first half against rival Martins Ferry Friday afternoon. The Big Reds trailed by eight points, made only 7 of 19 shots from the floor and had eight turnovers.
"That was the worst first half that we've played all season. We played horrible, but I'm proud we came out in the second half without our heads up and played great," she said after watching her team rally for a 57-50 girls' basketball victory inside 'The House of Champions' on Guernsey Street.
"We played smart and did some things that we've been trying to do for a long time," Quirk added. "We finally got smart enough to do them."
T-L Photo/KIM NORTH
BELLAIRE’S Cari Crozier goes up for a shot as Martins Ferry’s Daleitha Johnson (5)?and Tyrah King (40) defend during Friday’s game in Bellaire.
The rally was jump-started by the deadly outside shooting of junior Kierstyn Kidder who dialed long distance twice in the early stages of the third quarter. After a 30-second Martins Ferry timeout and ensuing turnover, Kidder was wide open in the corner when she tickled the twine again to give the Big Reds a 28-27 edge.
"Kierstyn hit three big shots to start the third quarter," Quirk allowed. "Those were some big shots by her."
The game was deadlocked twice, the last time at 30 before the ancient rivals traded runs. Six consecutive points by the hosts gave them a 36-30 advantage, but the Purple Riders answered with seven unanswered - the final two on a layup by senior Morgan Stalder - to lead 37-36 after three quarters.
Two free throws and a basket by Kidder put Bellaire on top for good at 40-39. Senior Cari Crozier closed the deal by tallying 10 of her game-high 18 points, including a 6-for-7 showing from the charity stripe.
"She made layups," Quirk said of Crozier. "If we would have made layups in the first half, it wouldn't have been a game. She busted her butt to get offensive rebounds and I couldn't say more about her effort."
Crozier also pulled down eight rebounds and charted five steals. She was aided by Kidder's 15 markers. Nina Crook added eight and Mary Garloch seven off the bench.
Martins Ferry head coach Lindsay Coyne thought a call early in the fourth quarter determined the outcome.
"Plain and simple. If Morgan (Stalder) does not foul out on that cheap call, the turnout of the game could have been a lot different. She was doing an excellent job of breaking the press and attacking the basket."
Stalder, one of three Purple Riders to exit the game early due to fouls, scored 15 points. Tyrah King led the Martins Ferry attack with 17 points, while Sydney Bridges contributed 13. King also collected game honors with 16 rebounds.
There was no JV game contested.
MARTINS FERRY (50) - Monroe 0 1-3 1; King 8 1-7 17; Stalder 5 5-5 15; Johnson 2 0-0 4; Bridges 4 5-7 13; Skvarka 0 0-0 0; Sutton 0 0-0 0; Martin 0 0-0 0; Totals: 19-43 12-22. BELLAIRE (57) - Kidder 5 2-2 15; Crook 3 1-4 8; Crozier 5 8-11 18; Gillespie 2 2-4 6; Ryan 0 0-1 0; Garloch 3 1-4 7; Stoner 1 0-0 2; Maupin 0 1-2 1; Totals: 19-53 15-28.
Three-Point Goals: Bellaire 4 (Kidder 3, Crook 1)