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Lady Tigers can#8217;t overcome poor start

Can we take a Mulligan on the first quarter?

If the Ironton Lady Fighting Tigers could erase the first quarter, Thursday’s game wouldn’t have been too bad. Unfortunately, this is basketball and not golf.

Ironton fell behind by 15 points in the first quarter and never recovered in a 55-44 loss to the Ashland (Ky.) Kittens.

“After the first quarter we outplayed them,” Ironton coach Doug Graham said. “We just got off to such a horrible start. I don’t know what the problem was, but we just dug ourselves too big of a hole.”

Ashland came out firing in the first quarter by making 7 of 11 shots including 4 of 6 from 3-point range to build a 19-4 lead. Ironton was just 2 of 10 from the field.

The Kittens scored the first 7 points of the game before Mandi Boykin hit a 15-footer for Ironton at the 4:55 mark.

But the Lady Tigers didn’t score again until Kayla Wileman nailed a 10-footer to make it 16-4. Ali Wilcox then hit the four 3-pointer in the quarter for Ashland to up the lead to 19-4.

Ashland was 7 of 11 from the field in the quarter including 4 of 6 from behind the arc.

Ironton (13-4) came to life in the second quarter by holding Ashland to just 6 points. A trey by Jessica Waddle, a layup by Wileman and a free throw by Waddle closed the gap to 25-16 at the break.

Kaitlin Stringer’s layup to start the second half gave Ashland an 11-point lead, but Mercedes Crockrel and Rachel Walker each followed up missed shots and it was 27-20 with five minutes on the clock.

Ironton cut the deficit to 34-38 when Crockrel converted a 3-point play and then added a foul shot at the 1:44 mark.

But Strait hit two more 3-pointers as Ashland was up 40-30 at the end of the quarter.

“Every time we made a run, they hit a key shot to break our momentum,” Graham said.

Ironton got within 7 points several times in the fourth quarter, the last on a 3-pointer by Waddle with 41 seconds left. But Ashland was 6 of 6 from the line down the stretch and 11 of 13 in the quarter to prevent the Ironton comeback.

Crockrel had 11 points and Waddle 10 to pace the offense. Walker had 7 points, 8 rebounds and 3 blocked shots while Boykin had 6 points and 3 assists. Wileman also had 6 points.

Laisha Ward and Wilcox scored 12 points each for Ashland (13-8).

The game marked the final home appearance for Boykin and Walker, the team’s only seniors.

Ashland1961515=55

Ironton4121414=43

ASHLAND (13-8): Ali Wilcox 1 2 4-4 12, Kaitlin Stringer 3 0 0-2 6, Chelsea Dietrich 1 1 3-4 8, Kim Strait 1 3 2-2 13, Laisha Ward 4 0 4-6 12, Nikisha Farrow 0 0 0-0 0, Jordan Smith 0 0 0-0 0, Katelyn Connor 2 0 0-0 4, Emily Ackerson 0 0 0-0 0. Totals: 18-45

13-18

55. 3-point goals: 6-14. Fouls: 13. Fouled out: None. Rebounds: 12-17=29 (Stringer 11, Connor 7). Assists: 3. Steals: 4 (Strait 2). Turnovers: 13. Blocked shots: None.

IRONTON (13-4): Jessica Waddle 1 2 2-4 10, Mercedes Crockrel 3 0 5-7 11, Kayla Wileman 3 0 0-0 6, Mandi Boykin 3 0 0-2 6, Rachel Walker 3 0 1-2 7, Michelle Pancake 1 0 0-0 2, Sami Morgan 0 0 0-0 0, Brea Tackett 1 0 0-0 2, Jessica Weaver 0 0 0-0 0. Totals: 17-44

8-15

43. 3-point goals: 2-7. Fouls: 18. Fouled out: None. Rebounds: 7-13=20 (Walker 8, Waddle 4, Crockrel 3, Pancake 2). Assists: 3 (Boykin 3). Steals: 3 (Wileman, Pancake, Crockrel). Turnovers: 9. Blocked shots: 7 (Boykin 3, Walker 3, Waddle 1).

RESERVES: Ashland 43, Ironton 35. Ironton scoring leaders: Brea Tackett 10, Lorna Ceasar 10, Janie Morris 6. Ashland leaders: Jordan Smith 12, Katelyn Connor 11).