ST. CLAIRSVILLE — On a night when all eyes were on Barnesville High’s Chelsey Keylor and her quest to eclipse state free throw shooting records, the Lady Shamrock senior put together a sparkling 26-point performance to lead her team to a 58-45 conquest of Martins Ferry in the Division III Sectional Tournament Wednesday at St. Clairsville High School.
Coach Jamie Carpenter’s red-hot squad, winning for the sixth consecutive time to improve to 15-7 on the season, is now headed for district competition next week in Steubenville where they’ll face a familiar foe — Buckeye Trail — the last team to defeat Barnesville before the current win streak began.
Keylor didn’t make her way to the free throw line until the fourth quarter, but when she converted a three-point play to extend Barnesville’s lead to 10 points (45-35), it marked her 47th straight successful foul shot to break a tie with Copley High’s Jenny Markle (currently a senior at Ohio Northern University). Keylor also hit her next attempt to extend the mark to 48 before missing, and she finished the game five-of-six at the stripe. That puts her at 77-of-79 for the season (97.5 percent) and means she is just one attempt away from qualifying for the state single-season free throw percentage mark.
“Chelsey deserves a lot of credit,” said Barnesville’s Carpenter. “She kept a good frame of mind all night with a lot of pressure on her. She struggled in scoring the last few games, but she came through big tonight.”
Ferry (16-6) scored the last seven points of the first quarter to assume a 13-9 lead at the initial break and was still in front, 16-11, early in the second period when Barnesville ripped off 10 in a row to take a 21-16 lead with 4:24 left in the half.
Behind guards Courtney Coleman and Brittany Burch, the Lady Riders got even at 24-all before a bucket by Keylor gave Barnesville a 26-24 lead at the intermission.
Five points from Burch gave Ferry a 29-26 lead early in round three, but that would be its last lead as Barnesville scored eight straight — the last four by senior Megan Kemp — to go on top, 34-29, with 3:00 remaining in the quarter.
It was 42-35 after three quarters and Ferry got no closer than five points (48-43) in the final frame thanks to a 10-point quarter by Keylor.
“It was a real dogfight in the first half,” said Carpenter, “but we knew they wouldn’t lay down against us. We only had a two-point lead at halftime, but my girls just stepped it up in the second half.”
“We took the pressure (defense) off because they handled it in the first half,” the Lady Shamrocks’ coach related, “We sat back in the zone and made them shoot the ‘threes’. We knew the key was for us to box out well and they didn’t shoot it very well tonight.”
Ferry, in fact, managed just 17 goals in 54 attempts (31.5 percent) and was just 4-of-24 from three-point range (16.7 percent).
“We had the shots,” Ferry coach Dave Reasbeck shrugged. “We just couldn’t get them to go down.”
“They did what they had to do,” Reasbeck said of the victorious Lady ’Rocks. “Every time we made a run, they made one right back at us. Their seven seniors didn’t want the season to end for them tonight.”
Backing Keylor’s 26-point, four-assist night were senior Allie Doan with 10 points and 10 rebounds; senior Leah Bettinger with eight points and 12 rebounds; and Kemp with eight points, three assists and three steals.
Barnesville was 22-of-54 from the field (40.7 percent); had a 43-29 rebounding edge and was charted with 12 turnovers to 11 for the Ferrians.
Burch — Ferry’s lone senior — tallied 17 points while junior Courtney Coleman netted 10. Junior Shae Moreland grabbed 10 rebounds and sophomore Courtney Frohnapfel had six.
“When we look back at the body of work for the entire season, we had 16 wins,” said Ferry’s Reasbeck. “We set ourselves up for shots at championships (Ferry won the Buckeye 8 title and lost to Barnesville in the OVAC Class 3-A title game) and we earned back some respect around the valley.”
Meanwhile, Carpenter expects a dandy next week against Trail.
“We’re playing well at the right time,” he said. “We know Trail and they know us, and we’re looking forward to a real good game next week.”
NEXT— Barnesville will take on Buckeye Trail, which defeated Steubenville Catholic Central by a 49-39 score Wednesday in the D-III Sectional at Dover, in opening round action of the Division III District Tournament action at Steubenville High School on Wednesday at 7 p.m.