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Slowdown tactics don#039;t slow down Lady Tigers

WAVERLY - The game plan was to take away Ironton leading scorers Andrea Rudmann and Sara Hacker and make someone else beat them.

And Mandi Boykin did.

With Boykin driving past the Zane Trace defense to score 24 points, the Ironton Lady Fighting Tigers rallied in the second half for the second straight game to beat the Lady Pioneers 38-32 and win the Division III district championship.

"Zane Trace had a great game plan," Ironton coach Amy Hughes said. "They keyed on Rudy and Hacker but they forgot one. You can take away two, but you can't take away all of them."

Ironton (22-1) will play No. 3-ranked Jonathan Alder at 6:15 p.m. Wednesday at Lancaster High School.

With Ironton trailing 19-11 at the half, Boykin scored 19 points in the second half to lead the offensive end of the comeback.

"We run a play where I just drive. If I didn't have the shot, I kicked off to Rudy," said Boykin who also had five assists. "(The coaches) told me they wouldn't be able to stop me and to keep running it."

Although the offense was slowed to almost a crawl the first half, Ironton's defense continued to play the Lady Pioneers tough. Leading scorer and first team all-district center Karen Diehl finished with just 10 points as Ciara Taylor, Boykin and Rudmann took turns guarding the taller player.

"The key was to stop Diehl and rebounding. The rebounding was not that good the first half, but we did a better job the second half," Rudmann said. "But it was a team effort. I couldn't have done it without my teammates."

Hughes agreed that the team concept and a strong defense were the difference, but she said those have been the team's trademarks all season.

"Defense is what we're all about. The girls take pride in that. No one really cares who scores the points," Hughes said.

The game was tied 6-6 after the first quarter. Ironton took a 9-6 lead on a free throw by Boykin and two by Hacker, but Shayna Cox came off the bench and hit three 3-pointers to give Zane Trace a 19-11 halftime lead.

"We tried to help on Diehl the first half and then we decided to go after everybody the second half. That's a big win for us to knock off a team like Zane Trace," Hughes said.

The defense limited Zane Trace to just 13 points in the second half on 5 of 18 shooting.

Boykin scored 8 points in the third quarter including a 15-footer that cut the deficit to 25-24. Rudmann made a foul shot to tie the game at 25-25 just as the quarter ended.

Cox hit another 3-pointer and Diehl made a layup to begin the fourth quarter as Zane Trace took a 30-25 lead at the 6:51 mark.

But it was all Ironton from that point.

Taylor and Boykin made layups and Boykin sank two free throws with 3:45 left that gave Ironton the lead for good at 31-30.

The Lady Pioneers were forced to foul and Boykin converted six straight over a 26-second span and it was 37-30 with 19 seconds left.

"We just tried to play good defense," Taylor said. "We practiced against bigger and stronger people and it helped. If (Diehl ) got the ball, I just tried not to let her go to the basket."

Cox led Zane Trace (19-5) with 12 points, all on 3-pointers.

The district championship was the fourth overall for Ironton and first since the 1980 team which advanced to that state tournament.

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ZANE TRACE (19-5):

Paige Halley 3-5 0-0 6, Courtney Congrove 1-11 0-1 2, Danielle Harrington 1-3 0-0 2, Katie Bost 0-3 0-0 0, Karen Diehl 3-9 4-7 10, Shayna Cox 4-6 0-0 12, Chelsea Maxwell 0-0 0-0 0, Darby Mitchell 0-0 0-0 0. Totals: 12-37

4-8

323. Fouls: 19. Fouled out: Halley (4th 0:41), Bost (4th 0:07). 3-point goals: 4-12 (Cox 4-6, Congrove 0-3, Bost 0-2, Diehl 0-1). Rebounds: 9-12=21 (Diehl 7, Halley 5, Congrove 4). Team/deadball rebounds: 5. Total rebounds: 26. Assists: 4 (Bost 2). Steals: 0. Turnovers: 15. FG% – 32.4. FT% – 50. 3pt% – 33.3.

IRONTON (22-1):

Andrea Rudmann 2-6 1-3 6, Danielle Henderson 0-0 0-0 0, Mandi Boykin 6-12 12-15 24, Sarah Cartmell 1-3 0-0 2, Sara Hacker 0-3 2-2 2, Ciara Taylor 2-3 0-1 4, Jessica Waddle 0-3 0-0 0. Totals: 11-30

15-21

38. Fouls: 16. Fouled out: None. 3-point goals: 1-8 (Rudmann 1-4, Hacker 0-3, Boykin 0-1). Rebounds: 5-11=16 (Cartmell 5, Hacker 3, Taylor 3, Boykin 3). Team/deadball rebounds: 4. Total rebound: 20. Assists: 6 (Boykin 5). Steals: 3 (Boykin 3). Turnovers: 10. FG% – 36.7. FT% – 71.4. 3pt% – 25.