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Lady Tigers struggle but still find way to get win

Just call this one the Ironton Lady Fighting Tigers’ mulligan.

With eight tough games behind them and Logan and Oak Hill left this week alone, the Lady Fighting Tigers were due for a letdown.

But despite their shooting struggles Monday, the Lady Tigers still dominated the boards and found a way to win as they beat the Minford Lady Falcons 36-32.

“We didn’t play well, but when you play as many good teams as we do, you’re bound to have a game like this,” said Ironton coach Doug Graham.

Ironton (7-2) shot a dismal 14 of 44 from the field for 31 percent and an uncharacteristic 7 of 18 from the foul line. However, they dominated the glass as they out-rebounded Minford 46-26.

Nikki Elswick had 13 points and 16 rebounds for the Lady Tigers. Four of her baskets were putbacks.

Lorna Ceaser added 9 points and 9 rebounds while Janie Morris had 8 rebounds.

Minford (5-4) was just 9 of 46 from the field, but most of its problems came from trying to live by the 3-point goal. The Lady Falcons were a mere 4 of 24 from behind the arc.

“We had the shots we normally get, we just didn’t hit them,” said Graham.

Courtney Spriggs led Minford with 15 points. Kendra Justice scored 8.

A 3-point play by Spriggs and a 3-pointer by Justice gave Minford a 6-0 lead. Justice hit another triple just before the end of the first quarter and it was 11-7.

Ironton held Minford to just four foul shots in the second quarter as the Lady Falcons missed all 10 field goal attempts. A putback by Ceaser with seven seconds on the clock got Ironton within 15-14 at the break.

A 15-footer by Alex Taylor gave Ironton its first lead at 17-16 with 6:37 on the third quarter clock.

Minford came back to take a 20-17 lead, but Ironton went on a 9-0 run that spilled over into the fourth quarter and gave the Lady Tigers a 26-20 lead with 6:16 to play. Elswick had two layups and Brea Tackett drained a trifecta to spark the scoring surge.

Minford got within 32-30 on a 3-pointer by Spriggs with 2:18 left, but a putback by Elswick and two free throws by Taylor with 47 seconds left sealed the win.

“Alex hit some big foul shots, Janie stepped up and played the middle well and made some nice passes, and, obviously, our rebounding was a plus,” said Graham.

Ironton will now host Logan in a league game on Wednesday and host unbeaten Oak Hill at noon on Saturday.

Minford 11 4 5 12 = 32

Ironton 7 7 10 12 = 36

MINFORD (5-4): Courtney Spriggs 2 1 8-9 15, Abby Donahoe 0 1 0-0 3, Kendra Justice 0 2 2-2 8, Laiken Gambill 2 0 0-0 4, Ali Shepherd 1 0 0-1 2, Mariah Butcher 0 0 0-0 0, Emma Shoemaker 0 0 0-0 0, MacKenzie Williams 0 0 0-0 0. Totals: 9-46 10-12 32. 3-point goals: 4-24. Fouls: 17. Fouled out: None. Rebounds: 4 offense, 22 defense = 26 (Shepherd 9, Spriggs 4). Team rebounds: 5. Assists: 2. Steals: 7 (Donahoe 2, Spriggs 2). Turnovers: 11.

IRONTON (7-2): Rebekkah Potter 0 0 0-0 0, Alex Taylor 2 0 3-4 7, Brea Tackett 0 1 0-0 3, Nikki Elswick 6 0 1-2 13, Lorna Ceaser 3 0 3-9 9, Janie Morris 2 0 0-3 4, Emily Lilly 0 0 0-0 0. Totals: 14-44 7-18 36. 3-point goals: 1-5. Fouls: 13. Fouled out: None. Rebounds: 14 offense, 32 defense = 46 (Elswick 16, Ceaser 9, Morris 8). Team rebounds: 5. Assists: 5 (Morris 3). Steals: 4 (Tackett 2, Elswick, Ceaser). Turnovers: 18.