WINTERSVILLE - On the strength of a 31-0 run that lasted from early in the first quarter until about two minutes into the third quarter, the Indian Creek girls basketball team upended visiting Martins Ferry 53-22 Thursday night.
"We've been working in practice on help defense and not letting teams cut across our face and I thought we did well with that tonight," said Indian Creek head coach Erin DeSantis. "The couple times when their guards were able to drive we had good help defense in the paint. That was one of the things I was proud of defensively.
"Offensively it's clicking as well. Our guards are taking jumpers when the bigs are being doubled. It's a process and we're getting there slowly, but surely. You can see their understanding of what we're trying to do growing each game."
After the Purple Riders took an early 7-6 lead the Redskins rattled off the final 11 points of the first quarter to claim a 17-7 lead. Then for the second night in a row the Redskins blanked an opponent for an entire quarter, running up a 16-0 advantage in the second quarter for a 33-7 halftime advantage.
The Redskins outscored St. Clairsville 18-0 in the third quarter Wednesday during their 49-36 victory over the Red Devils.
"I didn't now that we did that (against St. Clairsville) until I read it in the paper," said DeSantis. "I guess I'm too focused on other things. It's always good when you have more points than the other team. That's the most important thing."
Indian Creek 53, Martins Ferry 22
Martins Ferry 7 0 11 4 - 22
Indian Creek 17 16 14 6 - 53
MARTINS FERRY: Monroe 1 0-0 2; Stalder 1 0-1 3; Johnson 0 0-0 0; Coleman 1 4-8 6; Martin 0 0-0 0; Sutton 0 1-2 1; Skavarka 0 0-0 0; Bridges 1 2-2 4; King 2 2-2 6; Ray 0 0-1 0. TOTAL: 6 9-16 22. REBOUNDS: 16 (King 6, Skavarka 4). ASSISTS: 4 (Monroe, Stalder, Skavarka, Coleman). STEALS: 12 (Coleman 5, Stalder 4). BLOCKS: None. TURNOVERS: 17.
INDIAN CREEK (9-4): Berryman 7 0-1 14; Kamarec 9 2-3 20; Davis 6 1-5 13; Durbin 1 0-0 2; Callahan 0 0-0 0; Taylor 0 0-0 0; Celestin 0 0-0 0; Smith 1 0-0 2, Schmitt 0 0-0 0, Mazzaferro 1 0-0 2, Slappy 0 0-0 0, Whitaker 0 0-0 0. TOTAL: 25 3-9 53. REBOUNDS: 34 (Kamarec 14; Berryman 6; Durbin, Smith, Mazzaferro 3 each). ASSISTS: 16 (Davis 5; Callahan 4; Berryman, Kamarec, Durbin 2 each). STEALS: 7 (Berryman, Smith 2 each). BLOCKS: 9 (Berryman 6, Kamarec 2, Smith). TURNOVERS: 14.
Indian Creek scored the first four points of the third quarter before a foul shot by Haley Sutton at the 6:09 mark made the score 37-8 and ended the Purple Riders scoreless run. The Redskins cruised from there, outscoring Martins Ferry 20-15 in the second half to earn the 31-point win.
Kiarra Kamarec was a force for the Redskins with a 20-point, 14-rebound, two-assist performance. She also added a pair of blocks and a steal at the defensive end.
"They called a timeout and Bre (Berryman) said 'Kiarra's lighting them up, I'm going to keep looking for her'," said DeSantis. "That's nice we're able to recognize that because it takes some of the pressure off of her. Kiarra stepped up big. She had a great game, not only offensively, but defensively. She showed her leadership skills as well, giving the younger kids encouragement.
"That's what you need out of your senior leader."
Berryman scored 14 points on the night to go with six rebounds, six blocked shots, and two steals. Bethany Davis added 13 points and five assists. The Redskins outrebounded the Purple Riders 34-16 on the evening.
"When you have a 6-8 and 6-2 girl you have to go against adds a lot of pressure," said Martins Ferry head coach Lindsey Coyne. "Our tallest player is 5-11, if that. I thought defensively we stuck with our game plan. They missed a lot of first shots, they just are that tall they were able to get the rebound and put it back up. I thought my girls played as hard as they could against a team like this. It's hard find someone, guy or girl, to come in and simulate her in practice.
"All you can ask is for the girls to go out and give everything they have, and they did tonight."
Martins Ferry was led by Malyah Coleman and Tyrah King with six points each. King added six rebounds. Defensively the Purple Riders had 12 steals with Coleman taking away five and Morgan Stalder adding four steals.
"She's actually becoming one of our better defenders," said Coyne of Coleman. "We point it out because she's athletic. We have a lot of young players on this team. Seven of our 10 players are freshmen and sophomores. She's a freshman, but she can be a very good player and she's coming around. We've been stressing defense.
"She's starting to see she can pick up some easy buckets off steals. She has to finish better, but just half the battle is to be in position to get those steals."
The Redskins (9-4) are back on the court Monday at 11:45 a.m. when they take on Chagrin Falls at The Country Classic.
"We've had three games this week and we have a busy week next week," said DeSantis. "We're heading into the home stretch here and we've had to overcome a lot of injuries and illness. At first we didn't respond real well, but now everyone is stepping up and taking their share of the load.
"I'm very proud of that."