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Lady Fighting Tigers top Portsmouth

Defenses know they must find Ironton’s Jessica Waddle and Mercedes Crockrel, but they don’t find them as well as the duo find each other.

Waddle and Crockrel spent a lot of time Wednesday finding each other for an open shot as they led the Lady Fighting Tigers to a 59-36 rout of the Portsmouth Lady Trojans.

Waddle had 14 points to go with five assists and five steals. Crockrel had 13 points as she had three assists and four steals.

But they weren’t the only two to benefit from each other’s passing. The pair found Michelle Pancake inside and the senior center pumped in a career-high 18 points in a game that saw Ironton lead by as many as 36 points.

“It was a tremendous team effort,” said Ironton coach Doug Graham. “The girls have been playing well together the last few weeks. I’m pleased with our team effort.”

Besides the offense, the defense forced 22 turnovers including 14 steals. Ironton got strong defensive and rebounding efforts from Alex Taylor, Lorna Ceasar, Janie Morris and Edi Taylor.

“They girls really played hard,” said Graham.

Ironton (6-4, 4-3) led 10-5 after a foul shots by Portsmouth’s Cassie Taylor. Waddle then made two free throws, Morris followed up a missed shot, and Waddle hit two shots over the final 1:35 to push the lead to 18-5.

Magee Colley made a baseline shot for Portsmouth at the 7:21 mark of the second quarter and it was 18-7. But Ironton went on an 8-2 run for a 26-8 lead and held a 29-12 halftime cushion.

Ironton ran off eight straight points — six by Pancake — to start the second half and it was 37-12. Portsmouth didn’t score until Colley hit a 3-pointer at the 5:24 mark.

The Lady Fighting Tigers built a 53-17 lead on an 8-footer by Alex Taylor with 1:32 left in the third quarter.

Graham began emptying his bench and Ironton coasted to the win.

Cassie Taylor led Portsmouth (1-7, 0-5) with 14 points.

The Lady Tigers play at 1:30 p.m. Saturday at Warren.

Fans attending the Ironton Lady Fighting Tigers game at Warren High School in Vincent may take the following route:

U.S. 52 east to Ohio North 7 to the Ohio 7 North ramp toward Belpre. Turn left onto Ohio 7 North. Take Ohio 339 ramp toward Beverly and turn left onto Ohio 339. Turn right onto CR 805 / Warrior Drive. The total distance is about 114 miles.

Portsmouth571014=36

Ironton1811264=59

PORTSMOUTH (1-7, 0-5): Magee Colley 1 1 0-2 5, Ashleigh Link 1 0 1-3 3, Cailyn Rodriguez 3 0 1-2 7, Tasha McGinnis 2 0 3-7 7, Cassie Taylor 3 2 2-4 14, Missy Stilwagon 0 0 0-0 0, Ruthie Stanley 0 0 0-0 0. Totals: 13-45 7-18 36. Fouls: 12. Fouled out: None. Rebounds: 11-18=29 (McGinnis 8, Taylor 7). Assists: 3. Steals: 7 Rodriguez 3). Turnovers: 22.

IRONTON (6-4, 4-3): Jessica Waddle 6 0 2-2 14, Mercedes Crockrel 5 0 3-3 13, Alex Taylor 1 0 0-0 2, Brea Tackett 0 0 0-0 0, Michelle Pancake 6 0 6-7 18, Lorna Ceasar 1 0 0-0 2, Edi Taylor 0 0 0-4 0, Janie Morris 2 0 0-2 4, Corney Rister 2 0 0-0 4, Carie Rister 0 0 0-0 0, Emily Lilly 1 0 0-0 2, Timmaya Taylor 0 0 0-0 0. Totals: 24-62 11-18. 3-point goals: 0-4. Rebounds: 21-24=45 (Morris 8, Crockrel 6, Waddle 5, A. Taylor 5). Assists: 14 (Waddle 5, Crockrel 3). Steals: 14 (Waddle 5, Crockrel 4). Turnovers: 17.

RESERVES (2 quarters): Ironton 26, Portsmouth 5. Ironton scoring: Lorna Ceasar 6, Janie Morris 6, Brea Tackett 4, Emily Lilly 4, Carie Rister 4, Cortney Rister 2. Portsmouth: Taylor Cooper 5.