Dragons nip Lady Tigers, 40-37

Published 12:00 am Monday, February 19, 2001

PEDRO – Talk about your photo finishes.

Monday, February 19, 2001

PEDRO – Talk about your photo finishes. The Ironton Lady Fighting Tigers were leading going into the backstretch, but it was the Fairland Lady Dragons winning in a photo finish at the wire 40-37 Saturday in the Division III sectional tournament finals.

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Ironton led by four with about two minutes to play when Fairland went on an 8-1 run to finish the game.

Brooke Fisher hit two free throws to start the run with 1:25 left, and Jeana Diamond had two layups to put Fairland up 38-36. Noelle Mains made a free throw for Ironton with 19 seconds to go and it was 38-37.

Ironton stole the ball on the inbounds play but missed the shot inside. A scramble for the ball ensued and the jump ball possession arrow favored the Lady Dragons.

Fisher was fouled with five seconds left and made both shots for a 40-37 lead. Ironton’s 3-point goal attempt at the buzzer hit the front of the rim.

"The girls just stepped up and made plays. Jeana had a big steal, Brooke hit some big free throws, and Ashley (Harris) had some big points. They all did a good job," Fairland Lady Dragons first-year head coach Nathan Speed said.

"We can prepare as hard as we can, but once you go out on the floor you have to execute and we didn’t execute the first half."

Fairland (19-2) was led by Harris with 11 points, nine rebounds, and three blocked shots. Diamond had 10 points and seven rebounds while Fisher had five steals and five assists.

Ironton got 13 points from Jessica Ensor, all in the second half after sitting out two-thirds of the first half in foul trouble. Sarah Herman added 10 points.

"We’re a team of runs and we had a couple, but we didn’t stop their run at the end. We got a steal with 11 seconds left and miss the shot that would have put us ahead, so we had our chances," Ironton coach Kevin Richardson said.

The game was tied 4-4 early in the first quarter when Fairland went on a 9-0 run to take a 13-4 lead when Jennifer Jones made two foul shots with 2:14 on the clock.

Herman hit two straight shots and Candace Ferguson followed up a missed shot to close the quarter and Fairland’s lead was cut to 13-10.

Ironton ran off 11 unanswered points to begin the second quarter capped by Main’s 3-pointer at the 1:18 mark that gave the Lady Tigers their biggest lead of the game at 19-13.

Fisher’s jumper with under a minute to play ended a nine-minute scoring draught and Ann Capper’s free throw got the Lady Dragons within 19-16 at the half.

"It seemed like there was a lid on the basket, but really we were just standing and we weren’t getting any second shot opportunities. They did a good job boxing out," said Speed.

A layup by Diamond and Brooke Godby’s 18-footer put Fairland ahead 22-20 two minutes into the second half. Ashley Harris hit back-to-back layups as the lead went to 27-22 before Ensor’s 18-footer with two seconds left cut the deficit to 27-24.

"Both teams were tight and it was such a hard, physical game," said Speed.

A 3-pointer by Ensor started a 9-0 run that Mains finished on a layup with 3:20 left for a 33-29 lead. That set the stage for Fairland’s closing run.

Ironton finishes the season 13-6.

"You have to have a little luck, but I’m proud of these girls. We’re going to miss Jessica Ensor and Sarah Herman and Cheryl Hill," said Richardson. "Two years ago we couldn’t play with Fairland or Chesapeake and now it’s real battle."

Fairland advances to the district tournament to play Unioto (20-1) at 6:16 p.m. Monday, Feb. 26, at Waverly High School.

"The girls have accomplished a lot. They’ve done a good job and I’m proud of them," said Speed.

Ironton 10 9 5 13 – 37

Fairland 13 3 11 13 – 40

IRONTON (13-6): Ashley Hannon 1 0 0-0 2, Noelle Mains 1 1 1-3 6, Sarah Herman 3 0 4-7 10, Jessica Ensor 3 2 1-2 13, Courtney Doughman 1 0 0-0 2, Candace Ferguson 2 0 0-0 4, Christina Norris 0 0 0-0 0, Rachel McClellan 0 0 0-0 0, Carly Isaac 0 0 0-0 0. Totals: 11 3 6-13 37. Fouls: 16. Fouled out: None.

FAIRLAND (19-2): Godby 2 0 0-0 4, Ann Capper 0 0 1-2 1, Jennifer Jones 1 0 4-8 6, Ashley Harris 5 0 1-4 11, Brooke Fisher 2 0 4-4 8, Jeana Diamond 5 0 0-0 10, Allison McConnell 0 0 0-0 0, Holley Harris 0 0 0-0 0. Totals: 15 0 10-18 40. Fouls: 17. Fouled out: None. Rebounds: 34 (A. Harris 9, Diamond 7). Assists: 11 (Fisher 5). Steals: 12 (Fisher 5). Turnovers: 25. Blocked Shots: 6 (A. Harris 3, Godby 2, Jones 1).