Unexpected winners meet for regional championship

Published 12:00 am Monday, March 14, 2005

And now the giant killers will meet.

Wednesday's Division III regional semifinals saw the Ironton Lady Fighting Tigers upset No. 3-ranked Jonathan Alder 57-56 in overtime, and then the West Muskingum Lady Tornadoes did one better by knocking off No. 1-ranked Oak Hill 71-53.

So the unexpected battled for the regional championship and a trip to the state tournament will match Ironton and West Muskingum at 1:30 p.m. Saturday at Lancaster High School.

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"We got a big win, but that's over. In the tournament, you can't celebrate a win too long or you'll be out in the next game," Ironton coach Amy Hughes said. "We got a great win against Jonathan Alder, but West Muskingum dominated Oak Hill who was undefeated and the defending state runner-up. That's impressive."

The Lady Tornadoes were impressive because of the impressive performance of 6-foot senior center Jessica McKenzie who scored 32 points.

McKenzie, who has signed with Bowling Green State University, averages 25 points and 12 rebounds a game.

"She was unstoppable against Oak Hill. We've got to figure out a way to at least slow her down, but we can't neglect the other girls. They can hurt you," Hughes said.

Ali Jones, Biz Perry, Jessica Lenhart and Jennifer Diller are all long range shooting threats. The Lady Tornadoes have nine freshmen on their roster including Jones.

"Their youth was a factor early in the season, but they're playing really well right now. They don't act like freshmen," Hughes said.

The Lady Tornadoes are coached by veteran Jack Van Reeth who has a 778-227 record in 44 seasons. He won three state titles with the West Holmes boys in the mid-1980s as well as a Class A state crown at Dresden in 1963.

Hughes is in her fifth season and has a 88-23 record. In three seasons with the Lady Fighting Tigers, she has a 54-12 record with three district tournament appearances.

Ironton Lady Fighting Tigers

PlayerPos. Ht. Gr.Ppg.

Andrea RudmannG5-09Sr.15.0

Mandi BoykinG5-04So.9.6

Sara HackerF6-01Jr.14.2

Danielle HendersonF5-10Jr.6.0

Sarah CartmellC5-11Sr.4.7

Top Substitues

Ciara TaylorF5-07Jr.2.0

Jessica WaddleG5-08Fr.2.0


Amy Hughes

2004-05 Results

Ironton60Rock Hill20

Ironton73South Point43


Ironton57Ashland, Ky.29

Ironton60Spring Valley52




Ironton47Christian Co.58

Ironton35Ashland, Ky.34

Ironton52Pike Central45

Ironton57South Point34


Ironton48East Carter30

Ironton51Spring Valley37

Ironton46Rose Hill44



Ironton54Boyd County23

Ironton69Ports. West11

Sectional Tournament


District Tournament


Ironton38Zane Trace32

Regional Tournament

Ironton57Jonathan Alder (OT)56

Record: 23-1

West Muskingum Lady Tornadoes

PlayerPos. Ht. Gr.Ppg.

Ali JonesF5-07Fr.4.1

Jennifer DillerG5-06So.7.2

Jessica LenhartG5-06Sr.6.4

Biz PerryF5-06Sr.2.7

Jessica McKenzieC6-00Sr.25.2

Top Substitute

Amanda DobbinsF/C5-09Fr.


Jack Van Reeth

2004-05 Results

W. Muskingum33at Sheridan25

W. Muskingum62John Glenn39

W. Muskingum54Maysville46

W. Muskingum62at New Lexington30

W. Muskingum67Morgan30

W. Muskingum57Philo31

W. Muskingum36at Tri-Valley46

W. Muskingum52at Rosecrans46

W. Muskingum76at Crooksville38

W. Muskingum50at St. Clairsville52

W. Muskingum52at Shadyside44

W. Muskingum50Sheridan48

W. Muskingum55at John Glenn23

W. Muskingum65at Maysville27

W. Muskingum67New Lexington26

W. Muskingum48at Morgan41

W. Muskingum59at Philo23

W. Muskingum58Tri-Valley64

W. Muskingum70Shadyside41

W. Muskingum87Crooksville30

Sectional Tournament

W. Muskingum70Monroe Central29

W. Muskingum74Barnesville22

District Tournament

W. Muskingum55Coshocton42

W. Muskingum28Sugarcreek Garaway26

Regional Semifinals

W. Muskingum71Oak Hill53