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Lady Tigers too passive in loss to Hunt. St. Joe

By JIM WALKER

Tribune Sports Editor

Check the “Lost and Found” box. The Ironton Lady Fighting Tigers were missing something very important Monday night.

Ironton lost a key ingredient — being aggressive — in a 62-45 loss to the Huntington (W.Va.) St. Joe Lady Fighting Irish.

“We started the game pretty well and then for some reason we just lost our aggressiveness,” said Ironton coach Doug Graham.

“Boxing out was non-existent. We told them to be more aggressive and we finally started to get some of that back in the fourth quarter.”

Ironton (12-7) battled with the favored Irish in the first quarter as the lead changed hands five times.

A trifecta by Nikki Elswick and two foul shots by Alex Taylor put Ironton up 15-11 before Amber Chadwick’s triple got the Irish within 15-14 at the end of the quarter.

Elswick’s 12-footer pushed Ironton up 17-14 to start the second quarter and her basket at the 5:15 mark made it 19-17. But Ironton could muster only a foul shot by Alicia Murphy the rest of the half and trailed 20-15.

It got worse before it got better.

The Lady Tigers managed on a 12-footer by Elswick at the 4:18 mark of the third quarter as St. Joe pulled away to 45-22 lead.

But the Lady Tigers didn’t quit and found that lost aggression.

St. Joe led 49-25 with six minutes left on a 15-footer by Sara Sang and then Ironton went on a 12-2 run. Elswick had six points in the surge and Taylor’s 3-point play with 3:32 left cut the deficit to 51-38.

Griffin Dempsey’s 3-pointer put a halt to Ironton’s run momentarily as Taylor answered with a trey of her own.

Chadwick made a foul shot, the Irish rebounded the missed second shot and Mychal Johnson hit a 3-pointer to make it 58-41 and virtually end Ironton’s comeback attempt.

“We had to attack the rim. When we do, we can play with about anyone,” said Graham. “Anytime a St. Joe player caught the ball they were a threat to score. We have to have that aggressive approach.”

Elswick finished with 20 points and 13 rebounds for Ironton while Taylor had 16 points, seven rebounds and three assists.

The Irish (11-6) had three players in double figures as Dempsey scored 14, Sang 13 and Stapleton 10.

Ironton plays its final regular season game Thursday as they host Gallipolis on senior night.

St. Joseph 14 11 20 17 = 62

Ironton 15 5 2 23 = 45

HUNTINGTON ST. JOSEPH (11-6): Terra Stapleton 5 0 0-0 10, Griffin Dempsey 0 4 2-2 1, Mychal Johnson 1 1 3-6 8, Sara Sang 6 0 1-3 13, Amber Chadwick 1 2 1-2 9, Niki Lobo 1 0 0-0 2, Rachel Lee 0 1 0-2 3, Asia Petitte 0 0 3-4 3, Caitlin Gale 0 0 0-0 0, Kara Anderson 0 0 0-0 0. Totals: 22-57 10-19 62. Fouls: 17. Fouled out: Stapleton (4th 0:12). 3-point goals: 8-18. Rebounds: 18 offense, 16 defense = 34 (Stapleton 12, Sang 11). Team/deadball rebounds: 2. Assists: 11 (Johnson 7). Steals: 14 (Dempsey 4, Sang 3). Turnovers: 9.

IRONTON (12-7): Alex Taylor 1 1 11-11 16, Nikki Elswick 6 2 2-3 20, Ariel Schweickart 2 0 0-1 4, Karlee McMackin 1 0 0-0 2, Alicia Murphy 1 0 1-2 3, Emily Davis 0 0 0-0 0. Totals: 14-40 14-17 45. Fouls: 13. Fouled out: None. 3-point goals: 3-8. Rebounds: 12 offense, 21 defense = 33 (Elswick 13, Taylor 7). Team/deadball rebounds: 2. Assists: 5 (Taylor 3, Murphy 2). Steals: 2 (Elswick, Schweickart). Turnovers: 22.