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Rising To A Challenge

GALLIPOLIS — If Hollywood was looking for a new idea for a zombie movie, the Ironton Lady Fighting Tigers have a plot.

A basketball team acts like the walking dead for three quarters, then comes to life in the fourth quarter and rallies past the upset-minded Gallipolis Blue Angles 35-33 Wednesday in a Southeastern Ohio Athletic League game.

Ironton trailed by 10 points late in the third quarter, then outscored Gallipolis 12-2 in the fourth quarter to get the win.

“At the end of the third quarter I challenged them to step up their game, to find their intensity and find the will to win. To their credit, they did all of the above,” said Ironton coach Doug Graham.

“We didn’t play well and you’re going to have those kind of games. I don’t know why we were flat. Maybe it was a hang over from the Oak Hill game. The big thing is we found a way to win.”

The game was marred by turnovers and poor shooting. Ironton was 14 of 33 from the field but was guilty of a season-high 28 turnovers. Gallipolis was only 13 of 39 from the field and had 26 turnovers.

The game was 10-10 at the end of the first quarter as Allie Troester scored 8 points for Gallipolis.

A foul shot by Rebekkah Potter gave Ironton an 11-10 lead with 7:18 left in the half, but that was the Lady Tigers final lead until the fourth quarter.

Gallipolis (5-6,1-4) went up 18-13 on a 15-footer by Troester at the 1:50 mark of the second quarter. Emily Davis hit a layup with 21 seconds left and Ironton got within 18-15 at the half.

Gallipolis opened up its biggest lead at 31-21 on a foul shot by Ciara Jackson with 39 seconds to go in the third quarter.

Lorna Ceaser got a layup off a pass from Brea Tackett 12 seconds later and the Lady Tigers were down 31-23.

Ironton (8-4, 4-2) picked up its defensive intensity in the fourth quarter and held the Blue Angels scoreless until Troester made two foul shots with five seconds left.

By then Ironton had scored 12 unanswered points in the quarter including a layup by Taylor thanks to a nice pass from Janie Morris with 3:10 left that put the Lady Fighting Tigers ahead for the first time since the second quarter at 32-31.

Taylor sank the front end of a one-and-one with 19 seconds left and Potter made two free throws with 5.7 seconds to go and Ironton led 35-31.

Tackett, Taylor and Ceaser all scored 7 points for Ironton. Morris and Ceaser had 6 rebounds each and Elswick 5.

Troester had a game-high 17 points for Gallipolis with 14 coming in the first half.

Ironton travels to Marietta Saturday for a league game. Junior varsity begins at 6 p.m.

Ironton 10 5 8 12 = 35

Gallipolis 10 8 13 2 = 33

IRONTON (8-4, 4-2): Rebekkah Potter 0 0 3-4 3, Nikki Elswick 2 0 0-0 4, Brea Tackett 3 0 1-2 7, Emily Davis 1 0 0-0 2, Lorna Ceaser 3 0 1-2 7, Alex Taylor 3 0 1-4 7, Janie Morris 2 0 1-3 5, Emily Lilly 0 0 0-0 0. Totals: 14-33 7-15 35. Fouls: 14. Fouled out: None. 3-points goals: 0-3. Rebounds: 8 offense, 18 defense = 26 (Ceaser 6, Morris 6, Elswick 5, Taylor 4). Team rebounds: 1. Assists: 6 (Tackett 4, Morris 2). Steals: 8 (Tackett 3, Taylor 2). Turnovers: 28.

GALLIPOLIS (5-6, 1-4): Samantha Barnes 0 0 1-2 1, Amy Noe 0 1 1-2 4, Tara Young 0 0 1-2 1, Allie Troester 8 0 1-2 17, Morgan Daniels 3 0 0-2 6, Haley Rosier 0 0 0-0 0, Kara Jackson 0 0 0-0 0, Ciara Jackson 1 0 1-2 3, Mattie Lanham 0 0 0-0 0. Totals: 13-39 5-12 33. Fouls: 16. Fouled out: None. 3-point goals: 1-7. Rebounds: 11 offense, 17 defense = 28 (Troester 7, Rosier 5). Assists: 3. Steals: 11 (Barnes 3, C. Jackson 2). Turnovers: 26.

RESERVES: Ironton 23-21.