MARTINS FERRY - There are some games during the course of a 22-game season in which a head coach can take something from a loss.
With that said, Lindsay Coyne, in her first-year at the Martins Ferry girls' basketball helm, is hoping that is exactly what happens.
"Even though we lost, we got better from this game," she said following a 67-35 setback to Pickerington Central in the championship game of the inaugural MPR Industry/United Dairy Martins Ferry Holiday Tournament inside the Tolbert Gymnasium on Saturday.
"We got better, even though it wasn't pretty at times, because Pickerington Central is good Division I program," she continued.
"They are a good team that plays with a lot of intensity. Games like this will make us better against the competition around here.
"We're not going to look at the score and say this is what they beat us by. We're going to look at what we did better as the game went on. What we can build on."
Deadlocked at 4-4 early, the Tigers (8-4) went on a 30-8 run that gave them a comfortable 34-12 advantage at halftime. Silky-smooth 5-foot-7 senior Phyllicia Johnson netted a dozen of her team-high markers to spark the surge, while Taylor Johnson, a 5-8 sophomore who is no relation, popped in all nine of her production in the first quarter.
Most of the Purple Riders' (7-3) non-success in the first half could be attributed to turnovers - 16 of them. And many of them were of the unforced variety. The hosts committed just four miscues in the second half.
"I told the girls to be more in the attack mode," Coyne said of her halftime speech. "If we don't do that we're stuck in the halfcourt offense and they get some easy layups after steals. I told each girl to blow by them. They are pressuring you intensely. Just take it to them."
Although the strategy didn't work as she explained, it did get the Purple Riders into the flow of things a little bit.
Senior 1,000-point scorer Jessica Kinney added 20 more points to her career total as she was voted the tournament's Most Valuable Player. She also pulled down eight rebounds. No other Purple Rider scored more than four points.
Kiara Johnson came off the bench to knock down a trio of bonus goals en route to 11 points. Allison Luther, whose grandparents reside in Cadiz, chipped in eight points and a like number of rebounds, which was a game-best.
"It was good for our girls," Pickerington Central coach James Stuntzman said. "We're extremely grateful to Martins Ferry. It was an extremely well-run tournament. We're also very appreciative for the way they went out of their way to reschedule everything."
No consolation game was contested due to scheduling conflicts with Steubenville. Big Red was to play Shadyside. That game has been rescheduled for later this month.