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Lady Fighting Tigers

suffer first loss, 65-56

By JIM WALKER/Tribune Sports Editor

Big on the boards.

The Russell (Ky.) Lady Red Devils 6-foot tandem of Jessica Fortman and Chinwe Okoro provided power and scoring inside and out as well as strong board play in a 65-56 win over the Ironton Lady Fighting Tigers Monday.

Fortman had 29 points — 19 in the second half — and Russell outrebounded Ironton 28-13 to hand the Lady Tigers their first loss of the season in a battle of unbeatens.

“I thought we played pretty well for two and a half quarters,” Ironton coach Doug Graham said. “We did a good job of pressuring their guards in the second quarter, but they hurt us late in the third quarter and in the fourth quarter with their big girls.”

Okoro scored 11 of her 16 points in the second half and grabbed eight rebounds. Fortman had 10 rebounds.

Ironton (3-1) got 14 points each from Mandi Boykin and Jessica Waddle with Kayla Wileman scoring 13. Rachel Walker led Ironton with 5 rebounds.

Russell took a 15-7 lead in the first quarter after a 3-pointer by Fortman.

But a layup by Wileman triggered a 15-0 run by Ironton that spilled over into the second quarter. A 3-pointer by Waddle with 6:34 left in the half had Ironton up 22-15.

The Lady Fighting Tigers forced 8 turnovers in the second quarter and led by as much as 31-20 before Russell cut the deficit to 31-24 at the half.

Kelsey Simpson’s 15-footer got Russell within 31-30 to start the second half. But A 17-footer by Wileman and 6 points by Waddle opened up a 39-30 lead.

That’s when Russell began to take over.

Okoro and Fortman scored 6 points each including a putback by Fortman just before the buzzer that gave Russell a 45-43 lead.

Ironton tied the game at 46-46 with 7:42 left on a 3-point play by Wileman, but a layup by Simpson gave Russell the lead for good at 50-48 with 6:05 left.

Fortman hit a 3-pointer, a layup and a baseline 15-footer to open up a 57-49 lead. Her two foul shots with 48 seconds left and a layup by Okoro with 17 seconds to go sealed the win.

“They’re just awful hard to match up with because they’re so strong inside,” Graham said.

Ironton hosts Jackson Saturday in a Southeastern Ohio Athletic game.

Russell1592120=65

Ironton13181213=56

RUSSELL (6-0): Marissa Adams 3 3-7 2-2 11, Samantha Sparks 0 0 2-2 2, Jessica Fortman 11 3 4-4 29, Chinwe Okora 8 0 1-2 16, Kelsey Simpson 2 0 0-0 4, Ginny Ferguson 1 0 0-2 2, Kayla Parsley 0 0 0-0 0, Ashley Fortman 0 0 0-0 0, Amanda Menshouse 0 0 0-0 0. Totals: 29-52

9-12

65. Fouls: 8. Fouled out: None. 3-point goals: 6-15. Rebounds: 11-17=28 (Fortman 10, Okoro 8, Sparks 5). Team rebounds: 5. Assists: 8 (Simpson 4, Adams 3). Steals: 9 (Simpson 4). Turnovers: 18. Rebounds: 1 (Simpson).

IRONTON (3-1): Jessica Waddle 4 1 5-7 14, Kayla Wileman 6 0 1-1 13, Mandi Boykin 7 0 0-0 14, Rachel Walker 0 0 0-0 0, Michelle Pancake 3 0 2-2 8, Mercedes Crockrel 2 0 0-0 4, Jessica Weaver 1 0 0-0 2. Totals: 23-51

8-10

56. Fouls: 13. Fouled out: None. 3-point goals: 1-8. Rebounds: 2-11=13 (Walker 5). Team rebounds: 8. Assists: 10 (Boykin 5, Waddle 3). Steals: 11 (Waddle 4). Turnovers: 11. Blocked shots: 2 (Boykin 2).

RESERVES: Russell 29, Ironton 26. Ironton leaders: Janie Morris 8, Edie Taylor 5, Ashley Moritz 4, Brea Tackett 5; Russell leader: Kayla Parsley 12.