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Steppin’ Up

It was déj vu all over again.

For the second straight game, the Ironton Lady Fighting Tigers jumped out to a big lead, watched their opponent battle back, and then fought through adversity for the win.

That was the pattern Saturday with a little different twist at the end as Ironton road its rollercoaster play to a 60-41 win over the Warren Lady Warriors in a Southeastern Ohio Athletic League game.

“At Jackson we went up 16-1 and it turned out to be a tough game. Today we go up 18-3 and then let them back in it. I thought to myself, ‘Here we go again,’” said Ironton coach Doug Graham.

Ironton (4-1, 2-1) ran up an 18-3 lead to start the game and led 21-10 at the end of the first quarter.

But trouble was about to rear its ugly head. Janie Morris left the game with 35 seconds on the first quarter clock when she turned an ankle and didn’t return.

Next, 6-foot center Nikki Elswick went to the bench with three fouls early in the second quarter.

Warren rallied to within 29-26 on two foul shots by Stacie Lauer with 39 seconds left in the half. Rebekkah Potter hit the front end of a one-and-one five seconds later as Ironton took a 30-26 halftime lead.

Alex Taylor — who had six offensive rebounds in the first half — and Elswick both left the game in the third quarter with four fouls to leave Ironton short-handed.

Emily Lilly made two foul shots and Lorna Ceaser hit a 12-footer to give Ironton a 38-30 lead with just under a minute in the quarter.

Warren (3-2, 1-1) then cut the deficit to 38-33 on a foul shot by Taylor Dolak and a basket by Bailey Poage.

Brea Tackett drained a trifecta with 5:11 to play that gave Ironton a 46-35 lead only to have Randi McKenna answer with a layup for Warren.

Taylor and Elswick returned to the game and Ironton elevated its play.

The Lady Fighting Tigers went on an 8-0 run sparked by Tackett’s steal and layup and two baskets by Elswick as the lead went to 56-37.

Ironton grabbed its biggest lead at 60-38 on a layup by Ceaser and two foul shots by Tackett.

Ceaser finished with 19 points and nine rebounds. Taylor had 13 points and 12 rebounds — eight off the offensive glass — while Tackett had nine points, six steals and three assists

“We told Alex she had to step up her game and she did,” said Graham. “Lorna played better and Brea played a great floor game. She held us together.”

Warren was led by Dolak with 15 points and five rebounds.

Ironton plays at 6 p.m. Wednesday at Portsmouth in a league game. The junior varsity will only be two quarters.

Warren 10 16 7 8 = 41

Ironton 21 9 8 22 = 60

VINCENT WARREN (3-2, 1-1): Randi McKennz 1 0 0-0 2, Bailey Poage 1 0 0-0 2, Taylor Dolak 5 0 5-7 15, Katie Farley 2 0 0-1 4, Emma Ryan 1 0 2-2 4, Stacie Lauer 0 1 2-2 5, Kasey White 2 0 2-5 6, Halle Richards 0 0 0-0 0, Jordanna Rauch 0 1 0-0 3. Totals: 14-51 11-17 41. 3-point goals: 2-14. Fouls: 18. Fouled out: None. Rebounds: 15 offense, 13 defense = 28 (White 7, Dolak 5). Team rebounds: 5. Assists: 3 (Rauch 2). Steals: 8 (Lauer 2). Turnovers: 16.

IRONTON (4-1, 2-1): Rebekka Potter 1 1 1-2 6, Alex Taylor 50 3-4 13, Brea Tackett 1 1 4-5 9, Nikki Elswick 3 0 2-3 8, Lorna Ceaser 7 0 5-6 19, Janie Morris 0 1 0-0 3, Emily Lilly 0 0 2-2 2, Emily Davis 0 0 0-0 0, Taylor Lilly 0 0 0-0 0. Totals: 20-43 17-22 60. 3-point goals: 3-10. Fouls: 17. Fouled out: None. Rebounds: 15 offense, 25 defense = 40 (Taylor 12, Ceaser 9, Elswick 9). Team rebounds: 2. Assists: 6 (Tackett 3, Potter 2). Steals: 12 (Tackett 6, Davis 2, Elswick 2). Turnovers: 18.