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The Will To Win

CHILLICOTHE — No, no, no. Uh-uh. Not again. This time it was going to stop.

In their most determined effort of the season, the Ironton Lady Fighting Tigers refused to lose as they beat the Chillicothe Lady Cavaliers 49-46 Monday in a Southeastern Ohio Athletic League game.

The win was the first ever for the Lady Tigers at Chillicothe.

“I told the girls at halftime that both teams were pretty evenly matched. The team that wins would be the team who wants it the most,” said Ironton coach Doug Graham.

“Fortunately we got a little lead in the fourth quarter and forced them to come out and foul us. We just battled the whole game.”

Nikki Elswick exemplified Ironton’s determination as she dominated inside. Elswick put up game-high numbers with 18 points and 19 rebounds.

“I can’t say enough about the play of Nikki. The girls found her and she finished. She played well against a good post player and against a physical team,” said Graham.

Brea Tackett knocked down three 3-pointers for 9 points and Lorna Ceaser also scored 9 points for Ironton (10-5, 6-3).

The Lady Cavaliers (7-6, 4-3) were led by Monique Lee with 17 points including four 3-pointers. Mariah Smith had 10 points and 7 rebounds.

The lead changed hands seven times and the score was tied on five occasions before Ironton got the lead with 4:38 to play and never trailed again.

The Cavs went up 4-0 to start the game only to have Tackett drain two treys and put Ironton on top. A 15-footer just before the buzzer by Smith gave Chillicothe an 11-10 lead.

Ironton went on a 9-0 run to start the second quarter and it was 19-11. Chillicothe finally scored at the 2:29 mark on an 8-footer by Whitney Harewood.

A foul shot by Elswick put the lead at 20-13, but the Cavs used two triples by Lee to get within 20-19 at the half.

“The first half was a game of runs. In the second half we knew we had to go on a run and stop their run,” said Graham.

Chillicothe led by 3 points on three different occasions in the third quarter before Ceaser made a free throw and Alex Taylor sank a pair of foul shots to tie the game 35-35 at the end of the third quarter.

The game was tied 39-39 when Taylor hit two foul shots with 4:38 left that put Ironton up 41-39.

Elswick made a free throw and Ceaser scored inside with 2:54 to play that gave Ironton a 44-39 lead.

Ceaser and Janie Morris made two foul shots each and Elswick another as Ironton led 49-43 with three seconds left.

Lee hit a desperation halfcourt 3-pointer at the buzzer to set the final score.

Ironton 10 10 15 14 = 49

Chillicothe 11 8 16 11 = 46

IRONTON (10-5, 6-3): Rebekkah Potter 0 0 0-0 0, Brea Tackett 0 3 0-0 9, Nikki Elswick 6 0 6-11 18, Emily Lilly 0 0 0-0 0, Janie Morris 2 1 2-2 7, Alex Taylor 1 0 4-4 6, Lorna Ceaser 2 0 5-7 9. Totals: 14-38 17-26 49. Fouls: 12. Fouled out: None. 3-point goals: 4-9. Rebounds: 8 offense, 29 defense = 37 (Elswick 19, Morris 4). Team rebounds: 2. Assists: 9 (Tackett 2, Ceaser 2, Potter 2). Steals: 8 (Taylor 3, Potter 2). Turnovers: 19.

CHILLICOTHE (7-6, 4-3): Brittany Strawser 0 0 3-3 3, Whitney Harewood 3 0 2-2 8, Monique Lee 1 4 3-4 17, Mariah Smith 5 0 0-0 10, Kristen Smith 0 0 0-0 0, Alyssa Oates 2 0 0-0 4, Holly Castro-Lemay 1 0 0-0 2. Totals: 17-54 8-9 46. Fouls: 19. Fouled out: Strawser (4th 0:03). 3-point goals: 4-12. Rebounds: 9 offensive, 22 defense = 31 (M. Smith 7, Lee 5). Assists: 6 (Harewood 3). Steals: 7 (M. Smith 3, Harewood 3). Turnovers: 15.

RESERVES: Ironton 30-24.

Southeastern Ohio Athletic League

Girls’ Basketball Standings

SEOAL All

W L W L

Marietta 8 0 10 2

Logan 5 1 7 3

Chillicothe 4 2 7 6

Ironton 5 3 9 5

Warren 3 4 5 7

Jackson 2 5 5 5

Gallipolis 2 6 6 8

Portsmouth 0 8 1 11

Saturday’s Games

Logan 45, Jackson 33

Marietta 53, Gallipolis 39

Warren 58, Portsmouth 27

Miami Trace 52, Chillicothe 49

Monday’s Game

Ironton 49, Chillicothe 46

Jackson 35, Athens 21

McConnelsville Morgan 52, Warren 44