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Underdog Ironton prepares for Regina offense

It's your typical David vs. Goliath story.

David in this story is the Ironton Lady Fighting Tigers, underdogs

in the regional tournament and now facing Goliath, a.k.a. South Euclid Regina.

The Royals, 23-3, have won four state titles in the past five seasons, missing only last year. Averaging 75 points a game and considered one of the top teams in the entire state, Regina is a heavy favorite to win another title when the Division III state tournament gets underway Friday.

Ironton (24-1) will play Regina (23-3) at 3 p.m. The other semifinal game has Waynesville (23-3) facing Hamler Patrick Henry (24-1). The championship game is 5:15 p.m. Saturday.

Coach Amy Hughes knows her Lady Fighting Tigers are facing their toughest opponent of the season. She said Ironton will need a near-perfect performance to win.

"They've got two really good guards and a big girl inside. They're strong on the boards and they like to get out and run up and down the court. We've got our work cut out for us," Hughes said.

Carla Jacobs, a 5-foot-7 junior guard, was a first team All-Ohio guard and considered for the Ms. Basketball Award. Jacobs averages 19 points a game.

Shay Selby, a 5-8 freshman, is Jacobs' running mate at guard and averages 15.4 points a game. Inside is Kalynne Proctor, a 6-foot junior center who scores almost 10 points a game.

Regina, an all-girls school, is coached by Pat Diulus who has 166 wins in six seasons at the helm.

While all the signs point toward Regina, Ironton's ace in the hole is its defense. The Lady Fighting Tigers have been solid defensively all season, especially in the tournament.

In the regionals, Jonathan Alder first team All-Ohio guard Lauren Prochaska had 24 points, but she scored 13 in the first quarter and did very little damage the rest of the game with the exception of a quick burst in the fourth quarter.

In the regional championship game, first team All-Ohio center Jessica McKenzie 17 points, 8 below her average.

"We have to play good defense, but we have to keep them off the boards," Hughes said. "We can't let them beat us on the boards and get their running game going."

In the other semifinal game, neither Waynesville and Patrick Henry have great size so both will rely on their outside game.

Waynesville is led by Aleshia Bors with 13.3 points a game and Abigail Nelson with a 12.4 scoring average.

Patrick Henry, another team that relies on its defense, has a balanced scoring offense led by Amanda Coressel who scores at an 11.4 clip.