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Lady Fighting Tigers shut down Marietta

Ironton coach Doug Graham played five cards and drew an inside straight.

No, it wasn’t a poker game, but a game plan to utilize five players inside to slow down the Marietta Tigers inside game and the strategy was straight on as the Lady Fighting Tigers took a stunning 48-37 Southeastern Ohio Athletic League victory.

“We told the girls before the game that rebounding was one big key,” Graham said. “We used five post girls and I can’t say enough about the way they produced.”

The inside quintet of Rachel Walker, Mercedes Crockrel, Jessica Weaver, Michelle Pancake and Ashley Moritz combined for 19 rebounds.

But more importantly, Marietta had not scored less than 57 points this season and inside tandem of Jamie McKitrick and Molly Miracle had been averaging 8 to 10 rebounds per game.

The duo had 4 rebounds each against Ironton and 11 total points. McKitrick had been averaging a double-double for points and rebounds in each game this season.

Ironton is now 3-0 on the season and 2-0 in the SEOAL. Marietta, the preseason favorite, fell to 3-2 and 2-1 in the league.

“That was a good conference win against a good conference team,” Graham said. “We played great defense. We held them to 20 points below their lowest scoring output.”

Jessica Waddle and Mandi Boykin provided the bulk of the offense for Ironton. Waddle scored 19 points and had 7 rebounds while Boykin had 17 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists and 4 steals.

“We kept their big girls screened off the boards and that’s why our guards rebounded so well,” Graham said.

The game was tight throughout the first half with five ties and a couple of lead changes. Ironton took the lead for good with 2:45 left in the half on a layup by Boykin to make it 20-18.

A free throw by Walker with 1:30 left made it 21-18 at the break.

McKitrick hit a follow up shot at the 6:35 mark of the second half and Marietta was within 21-20. But Kayla Wileman hit a 10-footer, a steal and layup by Boykin and a 3-pointer by Waddle opened up a 28-24 lead.

Tia Rose hit a short jumper to get Marietta within 28-26 with about three minutes on the clock. Ironton then used a 3-pointer by Wileman to ignite a 9-0 run to end the quarter and the Ironton lead grew to 37-26.

The Lady Fighting Tigers opened up a 44-28 lead with 5:57 to play on a steal and layup by Boykin.

On Monday, Ironton hosts Russell, Ky., in a key non-league matchup.

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MARIETTA (3-2, 2-1): Bre Davis 2 1 0-1 7, Sarah Grosel 1 0 2-2 4, Allie Wallis 2 0 0-0 4, Molly Miracle 1 0 1-2 3, Jamie McKitrick 4 0 0-3 8, Liana Ford 1 0 0-0 2, Sophie Wagner 0 0 0-0 0, Nicole Lindberg 0 0 1-2 1, Julie Benton 0 1 0-0 3, Megan Huck 1 0 0-0 2, Kristen Ross 0 0 1-2 1, Tia Rose 1 0 0-0 2. Totals: 15-42 5-12

37. Fouls: 15. Fouled out: None. 3-point goals: 2-10. Rebounds: 6-14=20 (McKitrick 4, Miracle 4). Team rebounds: 6. Assists: 3. Steals: 4 (Davis 2). Turnovers: 21. Blocked shots: None.

IRONTON (4-0, 2-0): Jessica Waddle 3 3 4-4 19, Mercedes Crockrel 1 0 0-0 2, Kayla Wileman 1 1 0-0 5, Mandi Boykin 6 1 2-3 17, Rachel Walker 0 0 2-4 2, Jessica Weaver 0 0 2-4 2, Michelle Pancake 0 0 1-2 1, Ashley Moritz 0 0 0-0 0, Sami Morgan 0 0 0-0 0, Brea Tackett 0 0 0-0 0. Totals: 16-44

11-17

48. Fouls: 17. Fouled out: None. Rebounds: 10-25=35 (Waddle 7, Pancake 7, Boykin 5, Weaver 5, Wileman 4, Walker 4). Team rebounds: 1. Assists: 5 (Boykin 3). Steals: 6 (Boykin 3, Wileman 2, Walker 1). Turnovers: 23. Blocked shots: 2 (Walker, Boykin).

Reserves: Ironton 22, Marietta 20. Ironton scoring: Brea Tackett 9 (3-poiner at buzzer), Edi Taylor 4, Janie Morris 5, Emily Lilly 2, Lorna Ceasar 2. Marietta: Alyssa Sturn 5.