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Lady Pointers pull away late to reach regional finals

LANCASTER — It’s all a matter of style.

The South Point Lady Pointers’ style was the right fashion as they pulled away late to beat the Ironton Lady Fighting Tigers 52-35 Wednesday in the Division III regional semifinals.

“It was just a difference of styles and styles played a big part in this game,” said Lady Pointers’ coach Dave Adams.

“We pressured them more than the first time we played them and we made it a full-court game. A half-court game was to their advantage. I told the girls before the game if we scored 50, we could win.”

Ironton coach Doug Graham said his team did a good job early of controlling the tempo and getting the lead. But that changed when the tempo changed.

“They wanted to get it to be an up and down game. We wanted to pick our spots to run,” said Graham.

“We went up by 10, but then we stopped running our offense and let them get the game going up and down. Their 14-0 run in the second quarter really hurt us.”

After trailing 9-6 at the end of the first quarter, Ironton (17-7) used a 13-0 run to begin the second quarter to take a 19-9 lead with 2:54 left in the half.

Mercedes Crockrel had five points in the scoring spurt, Janie Morris hit to key layups, and Alex Taylor had two steals that led to a Crockrel layup and her own basket.

A foul sent the Lady Pointers’ Jalynn Bradburn to the foul line. She hit the first shot and missed the second, but a lane violation call gave Bradburn a second chance and she hit the shot.

Bradburn then hit a 10-footer and a 3-pointer by Kayla Fletcher cut the deficit to 19-16.

The South Point run ended with a layup by Bradburn just before the buzzer and the Lady Pointers led 23-19 at the break.

Tinesha Taylor’s layup to start the second half upped the South Point lead to 25-19.

Ironton ended the run on a layup by Crockrel. The Lady Tigers’ lone senior hit a trifecta with 24 seconds left in the quarter and Ironton was down 31-26.

Two foul shots by Brea Tackett with 5:21 to play got Ironton within 35-31.

A layup by Allison Mitchell off a pass from Fletcher put the Lady Pointers up 37-31.

The foul line became a factor over the final 3:21 of the game as South Point converted 11-of-12 free throws to pull away.

“We battled back. We just couldn’t get over the hump,” said Graham. “Turnovers killed us and most of them were unforced. This was the first time in a regional for most of these girls.”

Ironton was hampered by foul trouble. Lorna Ceaser was called for two quick fouls in the first quarter and had to sit down. She returned in the second quarter only to be whistled for a third foul and sat out nearly six more minutes.

Both Ceaser and Morris picked up their fourth fouls in the third quarter and were forced to the bench. They returned in the fourth quarter only to foul out late.

“Their foul trouble gave them matchup trouble,” said Adams. “The last two games we’ve done a better job picking up the mismatches and taking advantage of them.”

Bradburn led South Point with 17 points while Fletcher had 16 points, six rebounds, three steals and three assists.

Crockrel had 14 points, eight rebounds and three steals — Ironton had 15 steals as a team — in her final game for the Lady Tigers. Ceaser added eight points while Morris had seven rebounds. Alex Taylor had six rebounds, three assists and four steals.

“We’re definitely going to miss Mercedes. She can create a lot of offense,” said Graham.

The Lady Pointers (22-2) will play in their first regional title game at 1:30 p.m. Saturday against Oak Hill, a 75-51 winner over Monroe Central.

In an earlier meeting this season, Oak Hill (23-1) beat South Point 61-55. Saturday’s winner will advance to the state semifinals at 8 p.m. next Thursday.

“The first time we played it was a six-point game and we had the lead early. Oak Hill is a good team, but we feel like we can play with them,” said Adams.

South Point 9 14 8 21 = 52

Ironton 6 13 7 9 = 35

SOUTH POINT (22-2): Allison Mitchell 4-6 0-18, Kayla Fletcher 4-17 5-6 16, Ericka Leighty 1-4 0-1 2, Jalynn Bradburn 3-11 11-14 17, Tinesha Taylor 3-9 0-0 6, Angelica Stewart 0-1 0-0 0, Ashley Goodall 0-0 0-0 0, Erin Dillow 0-0 0-0 0, Destinee Jones 0-0 0-0 0, Tausha Collins 0-0 0-0 0. Totals: 16-48 16-22 52. Fouls: 14. Fouled out: Leighty (4th 5:21). 3-point goals: 3-10 (Fletcher 3-7, Bradburn 0-3). Rebounds: 12-22=34 (Mitchell 8, Fletcher 6, Taylor 5). Team/deadball rebounds: 7. Assists: 7 (Bradburn 3, Fletcher 3). Steals: 9 (Fletcher 3, Bradburn 2, Taylor 2). Turnovers: 19.

IRONTON (17-7): Mercedes Crockrel5-15 3- 14, Alex Taylor 2-5 1-3 5, Brea Tackett 0-10 2-2 2, Janie Morris 3-5 0-0 6, Lorna Ceaser 3-4 2-3 8, Cortney Rister 0-0 0-0 0, Emily Lilly 0-0 0-0 0, Arden Sparks 0-0 0-0 0, Emily Davis 0-0 0-0 0, Taylor Lilly 0-0 0-0 0, Shannon Walker 0-0 0-0 0, Colleen Walker 0-0 0-0 0, Sara Linn 0-0 0-0 0, Torie Klaiber 0-0 0-0 0. Totals: 13-39 8-13 35. Fouls: 21. Fouled out: Morris (4th 1:00), Ceaser (4th 0:50). 3-point goals: 1-5 (Crockrel 1-2, Tackett 0-3). Rebounds: 9-23=32 (Crockrel 8, Morris 7, Taylor 6, Ceaser 5). Team/deadball rebounds: 1. Assists: 7 (Bradburn 3, Fletcher 3). Steals: 8 (Fletcher 3, Taylor 2, Bradburn 2). Turnovers: 19.