MARTINS FERRY - For Shadyside and Coach Ed Andes, it's been a season resembling a roller coaster ride.
Friday night inside the Tolbert Gymnasium, the Tigers hit one of their peaks at a time when the Purple Riders needed the Tigers to be in one of their valleys.
"I've seen Shadyside a lot this season, and I don't think I've seen them play as well as they did in that first half," Purple Riders' coach Jeff Sabatino said. "We needed them to play average, but unfortunately for us that wasn't the case early."
Shadyside’s Adam Stupak looks to make a play while guarded by Martins Ferry’s Arjay Burress (3) on Friday night.
It was that first half that basically proved to be the difference as the Tigers owned an 11-point cushion at halftime and went on to post a 59-47 repeat victory against the Purple Riders.
"We shot the ball better, we were patient offensively and we defended better than we did on Tuesday," Andes said. "Though we've had some ups and downs, I'll take it."
"Before, we'd play well and still not win, but now when we play well we find a way to win."
The Purple Riders (9-6), who played without Cody Schau, fell behind by as many as 15 at a juncture in the third quarter.
Riding the strength of their post players - senior Tyler Strama and junior Robert Vargo - the Purple Riders clawed their way back into the game and trimmed the margin to just six at 52-46 with a three minutes to play.
"We made a go out of it," Sabatino said. "...but the ball slipped off our fingers, we missed a couple of layups and some free throws, but you certainly can't fault the effort."
However, Shadyside (10-10) went to its post player, sophomore Austin Dorris, who delivered in the clutch. He scored 10 of his 22 points in the final quarter, including five in a row, which helped keep the Purple Riders at bay.
Dorris was complemented in the scoring column by talented senior Adam Stupak, who had the hot hand early. He scored 10 of his 19 in the first half, burying three trifectas during the first 16 minutes.
Strama led the Riders with 22 points, while Vargo scored 10 points and collected nine rebounds.
"I thought, for a guy playing basically on one leg, Strama played a heck of a game," Sabatino said. "I didn't know what to expect from boy, but my goodness did he deliver. Give Shadyside credit because they weren't going to let us win (Friday night)."
Shadyside held a slim 27-25 edge on the boards and was charted for just eight turnovers, but that was still two more than the hosts.
Senior Ryan Richardson led the Tigers on the glass with seven boards to go along with his five points.