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Lady Tigers wake up in win

PEDRO — The Ironton Lady Fighting Tigers needed a wake-up call. Coach Doug Graham supplied the alarm.

Playing sluggish in the first half, Graham took his team to task at halftime and the Lady Tigers responded with a 55-27 win over the Fairland Lady Dragons 55-27 Saturday to win their sixth straight Division III sectional championship.

“We came out and played well at first, but once we got the lead we got lazy and sloppy. We weren’t playing defense and I challenge them to pick up their intensity in the second half and they did,” said Graham.

Senior guard Jessica Waddle, who had 13 points and three steals, said Graham didn’t just ask the players to pick up their game

“(Coach Graham) told us we had to get out and get it going in the second half or he’d get five new players to take our place,” said Waddle. “And we did.”

Senior center Michelle Pancake scored 12 points and had eight rebounds. She scored 10 of her points in the first half.

“We came out ready and had really good ball movement. I think we got a little tired but then we did play well at the end bringing it back,” said Pancake.

Ironton forced Fairland into nine first quarter turnovers and 2 for the game. Mercedes Crockrel scored six points, Pancake five, and Waddle hit a 3-pointer that gave Ironton a 175 first quarter lead.

The Lady Tigers were just 5-of-18 from the field in the second quarter but still built a 29-10 lead after a layup by Alex Taylor and two close range shots by Crockrel.

But Fairland cut the deficit to 29-14 at the break mainly on the strength of 10-for-20 foul shooting in the half.

The Lady Fighting Tigers then came out in the second half with a 11-3 run to go up 40-19 and never looked back.

Ironton led by as many as 32 points when Waddle had a steal and layup that put the lead at 55-23.

Crockrel led all scorers with 21 points to go with 11 rebounds, six steals and three assists.

Shelby Fuller scored 13 points to lead Fairland (9-13).

Ironton (16-5) will play Adena at 8 p.m. on Monday, Feb.18, in the district semifinal at Waverly.

Fairland5994=27

Ironton1712215=55

FAIRLAND (9-13): MacKenzie Rucker 1 0 3-10 5, Brianna Day 1 0 0-0 2, Lauren Phillips 0 0 2-4 2, Shelby Fuller 30 7-9 13, Megan Brooks 0 0 1-2 1, Beth Schlegel 1 0 0-1 2, Lauren Fulks 0 0 0-2 0, Jordan Fulks 1 0 0-2 2, Sam Ball 0 0 0-0 0. Totals: 7-30 13-30 27. 3-point goals: 0-2. Fouls: 13. Fouled out: None. Rebounds: 10-15=25 (Phillips 6, Day 5, Schlegel 5). Team rebounds: 8. Assists: 2. Steals: 4 (Brooks 2). Turnovers: 27.

IRONTON (16-5): Jessica Waddle 5 1 0-0 13, Mercedes Crockrel 8 0 5-6 21, Alex Taylor 1 0 1-2 3, Brea Tackett 0 0 0-0 0, Michelle Pancake 5 0 2-3 12, Janie Morris 0 0 0-0 0, Lorna Ceaser 1 0 0-0 2, Edi Taylor 2 0 0-2 4, Courtney Rister 0 0 0-0 0, Emily Lilly 0 0 0-0 0, Carie Rister 0 0 0-0 0, Nikki Elswick 0 0 0-0 0, Timmaya Taylor 0 0 0-0 0. Totals: 23-69 8-13 55. 3-point goals: 1-6. Fouls: 20. Fouled out: Tackett (4th 1:51). Rebounds: 25-20=45 (Crockrel 11, Pancake 8, Ceaser 6). Team rebounds: 2. Total rebounds: 47. Assists: 10 (Pancake 3, Crockrel 3, Tackett 2). Steals: 22 (Crockrel 6, Morris 5, A. Taylor 5, Waddle 3). Turnovers: 12.