Devil of a Time

Published 3:29 am Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Just when things got tight, the Ironton Lady Fighting Tigers got loose.

Heading into the fourth quarter, Ironton lead by just two points in a very physical game. But the Lady Tigers were up to the challenge as they pulled away and beat the Russell (Ky.) Lady Red Devils 48-33 Monday to stay unbeaten.

“We faced some adversity and we were able to overcome it,” said Ironton coach Doug Graham.

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“It was a very physical game and Russell did a good job of trying to control the tempo. But we didn’t panic at any time and we did a good job of keeping our composure with the game still close in the fourth quarter.”

Ironton (6-0) not only faced the challenge head-on, the Lady Tigers elevated their play by limiting Russell to just two points in the quarter on one-for-6 shooting.

“Our defense was good again. We challenged their shots and kept pressure on the ball and force some turnovers,” said Graham.

Russell (0-3) was guilty of 23 turnovers including six in the fourth quarter. The Lady Devils shot 46 percent from the field, but they only managed 28 shots for the entire game.

The Lady Devils actually tied the game to start the fourth quarter on a layup by Kayla Parsley who led Russell with 16 points and 10 rebounds.

But a layup by Mercedes Crockrel off a nice pass from Janie Morris gave Ironton the lead for good at 35-33 with 7:18 to play.

Crockrel followed with a 12-footer, then fed Alex Taylor for a layup and the lead was 39-33.

Brea Tackett came up with a steal and Ironton began to run time off the clock. Tackett was fouled with 1:08 left and hit both shots for a 41-33 lead.

Morris then got a steal and dished to Crockrel who was fouled making a layup. She converted the three-point play and Tackett sealed the deal later with two more foul shots with just 31 seconds left.

Ironton led the entire first quarter only to have Russell come back to take the lead for most of the second quarter. But a layup by Lorna Ceaser cut the deficit to 18-17 and a three-point play by Taylor just before the end of the half put Ironton back on top at 20-18.

An 18-footer by Molly Baldridge gave Russell a 22-20 lead early in the third quarter. The game was tied two more times before a foul shot by Morris and back-to-back baskets by Crockrel gave Ironton the led for good at 29-24.

Crockrel finished with a game-high 22 points and Ceaser scored 10. Taylor had six rebounds and four steals.

Ironton travels Chillicothe Saturday night. The Lady Cavaliers are the preseason favorites in the SEOAL.

Russell 8 10 13 2 = 33

Ironton 11 9 13 15 = 48

RUSSELL (0-3): Kelsey Simpson 3 0 1-2 7, Gabrielle Cassity 0 1 2-2 5, Kayla Parsley 7 0 2-2 16, Molly Baldridge 1 0 0-0 2, Ashley Fortman 0 1 0-0 3, Bryanna Gullett 0 0 0-0 0, Sarah Hanson 0 0 0-0 0. Totals: 13-28 5-6 33. Fouls: 14. Fouled out: Baldridge (4th 1:08). 3-point goals: 2-6. Rebounds: 3-19=22 (Parsley 10, Cassity 5). Team/deadball rebounds: 2. Total rebounds: 24. Assists: 4 (Cassity 3). Steals: 1 (Fortman). Turnovers: 23.

IRONTON (6-0): Mercedes Crockrel 9 0 4-5 22, Alex Taylor 3 0 1-1 7, Brea Tackett 0 0 4-5 4, Janie Morris 1 0 1-4 3, Lorna Ceaser 5 0 0-0 10, Cortney Rister 0 0 0-0 0, Nikki Elswick 0 0 2-2 2, Emily Lilly 0 0 0-0 0. Totals: 18-52 12-17 48. Fouls: 9. Fouled out: None. 3-point goals: 0-4. Rebounds: 12-9=21 (Taylor 6, Morris 4). Team/deadball rebounds: 7. Total rebounds: 28. Assists: 10 (Tackett 4). Steals: 10 (Taylor 4, Crockrel 3). Turnovers: 7.