Lady Fighting Tigers battle way past Gallipolis, 47-39

Published 4:14 am Thursday, February 5, 2009

First, the Ironton Lady Fighting Tigers went up. Then they had to step up.

Ironton took a big early lead, then made some big plays late to beat the Gallipolis Blue Angels 47-39 Wednesday in a Southeastern Ohio Athletic League game.

The Lady Tigers began the game by dominating the Blue Angels and building a 16-2 lead at the end of the first quarter.

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But an 18-point lead early in the third quarter evaporated to just six before key baskets by Janie Morris and Mercedes Crockrel and some clutch foul shooting by Brea Tackett thwarted the Gallipolis comeback.

“I called a timeout and told the girls someone needed to step up and we needed to make some stops on defense,” said Ironton coach Doug Graham.

“Janie (Morris) stepped up for us and hit a big shot. Brea (Tackett) came right back down and hit some big shots.”

A foul shot by Gallipolis’ Amy Noe cut Ironton’s lead to 37-31 with 4:39 left. Morris then drained a 17-footer with 3:22 left and a 15-footer by Crockrel 29 seconds later opened up a 41-31 lead.

Trailing 41-34 with 1:45 left, Gallipolis was forced to foul. Three fouls later Ironton was in the bonus and Morris hit both ends of a one-and-one with 1:26 to go and it was 43-34.

A 3-pointer by Shantelle Rathburn got the Blue Angels within 44-37 with 47 seconds left, but Tackett was 3-of-4 over the final 38 seconds to seal the win.

Ironton is now 12-5 overall and tied with Chillicothe for first place in the SEOAL South Division at 8-2. Gallipolis fell to 10-7 and 3-7 in the league.

“I was proud of the way we played overall,” said Graham. “Give Gallipolis credit. They battled back. But our girls played tough and battled through adversity. A lot of things went against them but they played through it.”

Morris had 12 points and six rebounds while Crockrel added 11 points, four boards, three assists and two steals.

Tackett finished with eight points, seven assists and two steals. Lorna Ceaser got eight points and six rebounds and Alex Taylor had eight points despite sitting part of the game in foul trouble.

Crockrel scored seven points in the first quarter including a trifecta as Ironton took its 16-2 lead.

A 12-footer by Tackett and foul shot by Ceaser opened up a 29-13 lead at the half.

Taylor hit a short-range jumper two minutes into the second half that gave Ironton its biggest lead at 31-13, but the Lady Tigers were just 3-of-10 from the field in the quarter and 5-for-20 in the second half.

A layup by Allie Troester cut Ironton’s lead to 35-26 but Crockrel came up with a steal and short jumper with just under a minute left in the third quarter to give Ironton a 37-26 lead heading into the fourth quarter.

Noe and Troester had 11 points each for Gallipolis.

Ironton 16 13 8 10 = 47

Gallipolis 2 11 13 13 = 39

IRONTON (12-5, 8-2): Mercedes Crockrel 3 1 2-2 11, Alex Taylor 4 0 0-0 8, Brea Tackett 2 0 4-6 8, Janie Morris 5 0 2-2 12, Lorna Ceaser 2 0 4-5 8, Emily Lilly 0 0 0-0 0, Cortney Rister 0 0 0-0 0. Totals: 17-40 12-15 47. Fouls: 14. Fouled out: Taylor (4th 0:23). 3-point goals: 1-2. Rebounds: 9-21=30 (Ceaser 6, Morris 6, Crockrel 4). Assists: 13 (Tacketet 7, Crockrel 3, Morris 2). Steals: 10 (Crockrel, Tackett, Morris, Ceaser 2 each). Turnovers: 15. Blocked shots: 2 (Crockrel, Morris).

GALLIPOLIS (10-7, 3-7): Samantha Barnes 2 0 0-1 4, Kari Campbell 0 0 0-0 0, Amy Noe 2 1 4-6 11, Rachel Jones 3 0 2-2 8, Allie Troester 5 0 1-1 11, Shantelle Rathburn 0 1 2-2 5, Morgan Daniels 0 0 0-0 0. Totals: 14-44 9-12 47. Fouls: 13. Fouled out: None. Rebounds: 9-15=24 (Troester 7, Noe 6). Assists: 4 (Noe 3). Steals: 3 (Barnes, Troester, Noe). Turnovers: 13.

RESERVES: Gallipolis 33, Ironton 24.