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Lady Tigers can’t dig out of early hole

IRONTON — They dug the hole with a backhoe and tried to fill it with a shovel.

The Ironton Lady Fighting Tigers fell behind by as many as 19 points in the first half to Marietta, then battled back to within six in the fourth quarter.

But the uphill climb proved to be too steep as the Southeastern Ohio Athletic League champions pulled away late to post a 74-59 win over the Lady Tigers Saturday.

“We dug ourselves a 19-point hole and you can’t do that against a team as good as Marietta,” said Ironton coach Doug Graham.

“I’m proud of our effort and the way we fought back, but we just spent so much energy trying to come back we ran out of gas at the end.”

Marietta finishes the regular season 17-3 and 13-1 in the SEOAL. Ironton slips to 12-7 and ends 8-5 in the league.

Marietta came out hot from the field in the first half by making 16-of-31 from the field including 4-of-14 from behind the arc. Marietta also forced Ironton into 10 turnovers.

In the second half, Marietta shot 53 percent from the field but only took 15 attempts. They were 20-of-27 from the line for the game and Ironton was 19-of-25.

Maegan Grosel scored seven points and Lauren Ross had a put-back just before the end of the first quarter as Marietta took an 18-9 lead.

The lead grew to 37-18 on a 12-footer by Paige Lamb with 3:05 left in the first half and the game began to look like a blowout.

But Ironton scored nine unanswered points capped by Nikki Elswick’s foul shot with 1:23 on the clock and Ironton was down 37-27. A layup 15 seconds later by Grosel put Marietta up 39-27 at the break.

A 3-point play by Elswick at the 6:05 mark of the third quarter cut the deficit to 42-34. Marietta managed to go up 55-43 on a triple by Lamb at the 1:10 mark only to have Brea Tackett make two foul shots and a layup and it was 55-47.

Amanda Brown hit the second of two foul shots with seven-tenths of a second left and it was 56-47 going into the fourth quarter.

A follow-up shot by Elswick and a free throw by Alex Taylor with 4:48 left to play got Ironton with 58-52.

Marietta was able to open up some breathing room at 64-54 with 3:22 left after a layup by Grosel. A layup by Elswick at the 2:22 mark got Ironton within 65-58, but they could get no closer as Marietta converted 5-of-6 from the line over the final 1:39 of the game.

Elswick led Ironton with a career-high 26 points and seven rebounds. Tackett was next with 8 points. Lorna Ceaser and Janie Morris had seven rebounds each.

LeeAnne Ross had a game-high 27 points and Grosel 18 to pace Marietta.

Marietta 20 19 17 18 = 74

Ironton 9 18 20 12 = 59

MARIETTA (17-3, 12-): Maegan Grosel 7-16 (1-7) 3-6 18, Amanda Brown 1-4 (1-2) 2-4 5, LeAnne Ross 7-13 (3-5) 10-11 27, Paige Lamb 3-4 (1-1) 2-2 9, Mary Beth Schramm 2-2 (0-0) 2-2 6, Allison Foues 1-2 (0-1) 0-0 2, Lauren Ross 2-3 (0-1) 0-0 4, Ali Summers 1-2 (0-0) 1-2 3. Totals: 24-46 20-27 74. 3-point goals: 6-16. Fouls: 18. Fouled out: None. Rebounds: 7 offense, 15 defense = 22 (Summers 5, M. Schramm 4). Team rebounds: 5. Assists: 5 (Brown 2). Steals: 8 (Grosel 3, Le. Ross 2). Turnovers: 16.

IRONTON (12-7, 8-5): Alex Taylor 2-10 (0-0) 3-4 7, Brea Tackett 1-8 (0-3) 6-6 8, Emily Lilly 1-1 (0-0) 0-0 2, Janie Morris 3-8 (0-2) 1-2 7, Lorna Ceaser 2-4 (0-0) 3-4 7, Nikki Elswick 10-14 (0-0) 6-9 26, Rebekkah Potter 1-4 (0-1) 0-0 2, Emily Davis 0-0 (0-0) 0-0 0, Taylor Lilly 0-0 (0-0) 0-0 0, Torie Klaiber 0-0 (0-0) 0-0 0. Totals: 20-48 19-25 59. 3-point goals: 0-6. Fouls: 22. Fouled out: Morris (4th 2:30). Rebounds: 16 offense, 17 defense= 33 (Ceaser 8, Morris 7, Elswick 7, Taylor 7). Team rebounds: 2. Assists: 11 (Tackett 3, Taylor 3, Morris 2). Steals: 10 (Taylor 4, Morris 3). Turnovers: 17.