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Lady Tigers’ pressure key to 48-40 win

By JIM WALKER

Tribune Sports Editor

If you have a wound, cover it and apply pressure.

That’s what the Ironton Lady Fighting Tigers had to do Saturday afternoon.

Suffering from badly wounded shooting eye, Ironton applied more pressure on defense in the second half and beat the River Valley Lady Raiders 48-40.

“You can’t count on your offense to be there every game, but you do something about your defense,” said Ironton coach Doug Graham.

“We decided to pressure them more defensively in the second half and we were able to force some turnovers and take away their open looks on offense.”

Ironton was just 7 of 28 from the field in the first half and fell behind 23-17. The Lady Fighting Tigers struggled even worse in the third quarter as they made 3 of 14 shots.

But the defense forced 11 turnovers in the third quarter and 17 in the second half to key the comeback.

Ironton’s pressure on defense limited River Valley (2-2) to just 14 field goal attempts in the second half after hitting 9 of 23 in the first half.

“That’s as bad as we’ve shot from the field that I can remember. But we did a good job on the boards and that helped,” said Graham.

Ironton (4-1) had 39 total rebounds including 17 on the offensive end compared to just six offensive rebounds for the Lady Raiders who had 27 overall.

Nikki Elswick had 22 points, 12 rebounds and three blocked shots while Alex Taylor had 16 points and 10 rebounds — seven on offense — to pace Ironton.

Taylor was 10 of 13 from the line including 5 of 7 in the fourth quarter. Torie Klaiber had six points off the bench and made two clutch foul shots with 42 seconds left.

“Torie Klaiber and Karlee McMackin didn’t score a lot, but they made a clutch shots for us,” said Graham.

A foul shots by Brooke Marcum and a 3-point goal with 20 seconds left by Beth Misner gave River Valley a 23-17 halftime lead, its biggest lead of the game.

But Elswick scored six points to start the second half to tie the game. Cady Gilmore’s foul shot put the Lady Raiders up for the last time at 24-23 with 4:06 on the clock.

Elswick then had a putback and later added a free throw for a 26-24 lead. Misner tied the game with a layup but Taylor hit two foul shots and Ironton led 28-26 at the end of the quarter.

Elswick drained a trifecta to start the fourth quarter, Taylor hit a short jumper and McMackin had a layup off a pass from Taylor and Ironton was up 35-26.

River Valley got within 37-34 on a short baseline jumper by Jessie Hager and then Hager sank two foul shots with 4:51 left.

But a putback by Elswick with 2:38 left opened up a 43-37 lead and then Klaiber and Taylor each converted two foul shots and it was 47-40 with 29 seconds left.

River Valley 9 14 3 14 = 40

Ironton 11 6 11 20 = 48

RIVER VALLEY (2-2): Jessie Hager 3 0 2-2 8, Kelsey Sands 1 0 0-0 2, Allie Neville 1 0 4-5 6, Cady Gilmore 2 1 2-3 9, Brooke Marcum 2 0 4-5 8, Shalin Comer 0 0 0-0 0, Kaitlyn Roberts 0 0 0-0 0, Kaci Bryant 0 0 0-0 0, Beth Misner 2 1 0-0 7. Totals: 13-37 12-15 40. Fouls: 16. Fouled out: None. 3-point goals: 2-13. Rebounds: 6 offense, 17 defense, 4 team (1-3) = 27 (Marcum 11, Sands 4). Assists: 6 (Hager 2). Steals: 7 (Sands 3). Turnovers: 23.

IRONTON (4-1): Alex Taylor 3 0 10-13 16, Nikki Elswick 8 1 3-5 22, Ariel Scheickart 0 0 0-0 0, Arden Sparks 0 0 0-0 0, Alicia Murphy 0 0 0-0 0, Emily Davis 0 0 0-0 0, Torie Klaiber 2 0 2-2 6, Karlee McMackin 2 0 0-0 4, Kaitlyn Adkins 0 0 0-0 0. Totals: 16-51 15-20 48. Fouls: 14. Fouled out: None. 3-point goals: 1-6. Assists: 7 (Taylor 3, Schweickart 3). Steals: 8 (Elswick 4, Taylor 2). Turnovers: 21. Blocked shots: 3 (Elswick 3).