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Lady Dragons lose in district

WAVERLY – Everything seemed to be working with the exception of one or two aspects.

Tuesday, February 27, 2001

WAVERLY – Everything seemed to be working with the exception of one or two aspects. But it was those two aspects that proved to be prime suspects in the downfall of the Fairland Lady Dragons.

Fairland played right along with the Unioto Lady Shermans in the Division III district semifinals, but cold shooting and unforced turnovers proved costly to the young and jittery Lady Dragons as they fell 55-37 Monday.

"It was a combination of turnovers and poor shooting," Fairland first-year head coach Nathan Speed said. "We got good looks, we just couldn’t knock them down. That’s nobody’s fault.

"We did get some layups early and our offense was running smooth. We just couldn’t hit our shots."

Fairland made just 14-of-44 shots for 31.8 percent but still trailed by just six points with two minutes left in the third quarter. That’s when the turnovers took their heaviest toll.

Unioto only hit 16-of-44 shots from the floor, but converted 20-of-32 from the line including 8-of-14 the fourth quarter when Fairland was forced to foul. The Shermans also made three 3-point goals while Fairland failed to connect on five shots behind the arc.

Unioto was up 11-6 on a steal and layup by Sarah Smith at the 2:22 mark of the first quarter, but Ann Capper’s layup off a pass from Ashley Harris and two foul shots by Jennifer Jones with 1:26 left made it an 11-10 game.

Harris sank a foul shot to start the second quarter, then followed up a missed shot at the 6:45 mark to give Fairland the lead.

A free throw by Jones at the 3:45 mark gave Fairland its biggest lead at 18-13.

But Jeana Diamond, the team’s leading scorer who picked up her second foul in the first quarter and left the game, was whistled for her third foul in the second quarter. As a result, she scored just four points the first half and Unioto went on a 6-1 run to close the half and take a 24-20 lead.

"A key point in the game was when Jeana got in foul trouble. She’s such a big part of our offense. She’s a presence in the middle," said Speed.

Down 31-27 after a layup by Brooke Godby, Fairland then committed three straight turnovers and Unioto capitalized to go on a 7-0 run and take a 38-27 lead heading into the fourth quarter.

The Shermans were up 41-27 when McWhorter hit a 3-pointer to begin the fourth quarter. Fairland got within 41-33 when Diamond converted a 3-point play with 4:04 left, but turnovers by the Lady Dragons and some clutch foul shooting allowed Unioto to pull away to the big win.

Diamond had 11 points and four rebounds for the Lady Dragons while Jones scored 10 points, had five rebounds, and two assists. Harris grabbed a game-high 11 rebounds, had two assists and a steal.

McWhorter topped Unioto (20-2) with 19 points and six rebounds. Smith got 15 points including 9-of-11 from the foul line.

Fairland finished the season 19-3 as Ohio Valley Conference champions.

"It was a great year," Speed said. "I’m pleased in my first year that I couldn’t have had a better group. They worked together and made my job easy."