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Lady Tigers top Fairland to win sectional title

Ironton Lady FIghting Tigers’ Emily Davis steals the ball from a Fairland player during their 56-42 sectional tournament win. (The Ironton Tribune / Kent Sanborn of Southern Ohio Sports Photos)

By JIM WALKER

Tribune Sports Editor

PEDRO — It’s been the Nikki Elswick and Alex Taylor Show this season for the Ironton Lady Fighting Tigers. Their play has been Oscar worthy.

But their teammates made a strong bid for best supporting player in a team role as the Lady Tigers beat the Fairland Lady Dragons 56-42 on Saturday to win the Division III sectional tournament.

Taylor had 15 points, 11 rebounds, three assists and three steals. She was a clutch 8 of 8 form the line in the fourth quarter.

Elswick had 10 points and 11 rebounds despite being swarmed the entire game.

But Ironton’s key contributions came from Emily Davis, Karlee McMackin, Alicia Murphy and Ariel Schweickart.

“They were double and triple teaming Nikki every time down the floor. The other girls stepped up,” said Lady Fighting Tigers’ coach Doug Graham.

“We grew up a little today. Our role players stepped up. Karlee hit some big shots. Alicia got us some clutch points. Emily hit some shots the first half and played great defense the whole game and Ariel hit a big 3 and ran the point well.”

Chandler Fulks and Katie Fuller scored 10 points each to lead the Lady Dragons who finished the season 10-11.

Fairland struggled offensively. The Lady Dragons were just 13 of 49 from the field including 3 of 17 from behind the arc.

“We missed some easy shots, but give credit to the Ironton defense. They play good defense. They had a lot to do with it,” said Fairland coach Jon Buchanan.

“Our girls battled. We went through a five-minute drought and we were still only down five. That’s a credit to our effort.”

Ironton led 14-13 at the end of the first quarter and 20-17 at the half. Fairland tied the game at 15 on two foul shots by Fuller with 7:07 left in the half, but a layup by Schweickart at the 5:16 mark gave Ironton the lead for good.

The Lady Tigers went up 27-20 with 3:45 left in the third quarter on back-to-back baskets by McMackin.

Samantha Lamb made a layup and Fulks hit a 15-footer to cut the deficit to 28-25, but Schweickart drained her clutch trey and she had a steal and layup just before the end of the quarter to put Ironton up 33-25.

Ironton scored six unanswered points to begin the fourth quarter and it was 39-25. A layup by Elswick with 3:20 to play opened up a 46-20 lead.

Fairland began to foul and Ironton converted 10 of 12 over the final 2:35 to clinch the win.

“They did a good job of hitting their free throws at the end,” said Burchanan.

Ironton will play Lucasville Valley at 8 p.m. on Thursday at Waverly’s downtown arena in the district semifinals.

Fairland 13 4 8 17 = 42

Ironton 14 6 13 23 = 56

FAIRLAND (10-11): Kayla Swiger 1 0 3-4 5, Chandler Fulks 2 2 0-0 10, Samantha Lamb 1 0 5-7 7, Jaimie Phillips 0 0 0-0 0, Lauren Poe 1 0 2-6 4, Katie Fuller 2 1 3-3 10, Kerie Napier 3 0 0-0 6, Tori Garrett 0 0 0-0 0. Totals: 13-49 13-20 42. Fouls: 25. Fouled out: Fuller (4th 0:50). 3-point goals: 3-17. Rebounds: 12 offense, 18 defense = 30 (Swiger 5, Lamb 4, Poe 4). Team rebounds: 7. Assists: 3. Steals: 11 (Swiger 3, Fuller 3). Turnovers: 21.

IRONTON (14-7): Alex Taylor 2 0 11-18 15, Nikki Elswick 2 0 6-11 10, Ariel Schweickart 1 1 1-2 6, Karlee McMackin 4 0 0-0 8, Alicia Murphy 3 0 3-3 9, Emily Davis 3 0 2-4 8, Katilyn Adkins 0 0 0-0 0. Totals: 16-43 23-38 56. Fouls: 15. Fouled out: None. 3-point goals: 1-8. Rebounds: 14 offense, 24 defense = 38 (Taylor 11, Elswick 11). Assists: 6 (Taylor 3). Steals: 10 (Taylor 3, Elswick 2, Davis 2, Schweickart 2). Turnovers: 19.