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Lady Fighting Tigers shut down Valley, 51-39

Ironton Lady Fighting Tigers’ Kaitlyn Adkins looks to make an outlet pass to a teammate. Ironton beat Lucasville Valley 51-39 Thursday. (The Ironton Tribune / Kent Sanborn of Southern Ohio Sports Photos)

By JIM WALKER

Tribune Sports Editor

WAVERLY — Teams keep putting two and three defenders around Nikki Elswick.

And Elswick’s teammates keep making them pay.

Elswick still had 17 points and 12 rebounds, but her teammates came up with plenty of support points as the Ironton Lady Fighting Tigers shut down the streaking Lucasville Valley Lady Indians 51-39 Thursday in the Division III district semifinals.

Valley (13-10) came into the game on a six-game winning streak that include victories over Wheelersburg and second-seeded Alexander in the sectional finals.

But Whitney Bear with 19 points and Shelby Ellis with 18 had all but two of the Lady Indians’ points as the Ironton defense clamped down.

In fact, Bear did not score in the fourth quarter.

“We mixed it up defensively,” said Ironton coach Doug Graham. “Valley has been playing well lately and we knew they would be a challenge. But our girls stepped up to the challenge.”

On the other end, Karlee McMackin had her best game with 11 points and nine rebounds. Ariel Schweickart added 11 points while Alex Taylor contributed five assists and five steals including her lockdown on Bear in the fourth quarter.

“All our girls are getting better,” said Graham. “Ariel, Alica (Murphy), Karlee and Emily (Davis) are all getting better. They have confidence in themselves. They have more of a scoring mentality.”

Ironton went on an 8-0 run to start the game and never trailed. The lead was 12-5 at the end of the quarter.

Davis followed up her own shot to begin the second quarter for a 14-5 lead and Schweickart’s 3-pointer at the 2:27 mark made it 28-17.

Elswick’s 15-footer a minute later gave Ironton its biggest lead of the half at 30-17 before a 10-footer by McKenzie Coriell got Valley within 30-19 at the half.

Bear had a 3-point play and a 3-pointer to start the third quarter as Valley got within 30-25, but Elswick scored five straight points and it was 35-25. McMackin’s 3-point play helped give Ironton a 40-31 lead at the end of the quarter.

A layup by Schweickart off a pass from Taylor put Ironton up 45-33 with 2:16 left and Ironton was 6 of 6 from the line the final 1:38 to clinch the win.

Ironton (15-7) will play Eastern Brown at 5 p.m. Saturday, March 5, in the district finals at the Ohio University Convocation Center. Eastern Brown beat Portsmouth West 54-39.

The day and time is tentative pending Ohio University hosting an MAC tournament game.

Ironton 12 18 11 10 = 51

Lucasville 5 14 12 8 = 39

IRONTON (15-7): Alex Taylor 1 0 2-2 4, Nikki Elswick 5 0 7-8 17, Ariel Schweickart 3 1 2-5 11, Karlee McMackin 4 0 3-5 11, Alicia Murphy 1 0 2-2 4, Emily Davis 2 0 0-0 4, Kaitlyn Adkins 0 0 0-0 0, Taitlyn Dutey 0 0 0-0 0, Saige Fields 0 0 0-0 0, Ashton McMackin 0 0 0-0 0, Kasey Carmon 0 0 0-0 0. Totals: 17-44 16-23 51. Fouls: 12. Fouled out: None. 3-point goals: 1-6. Rebounds: 14 offense, 26 defense = 40 (Elswick 12, K. McMackin 9, Taylor 6). Team rebounds: 4. Assists: 8 (Taylor 5). Steals: 6 (Taylor 5). Turnovers: 20.

LUCASVILLE VALLEY (13-10): Courtney Crabtree 0 0 0-0 0, Whitney Bear 3 3 4-5 19, Shelby Ellis 4 2 4-5 18, Carrie Coriell 0 0 0-0 0, Kaitlyn Patrick 0 0 0-0 0, McKenzie Coriell 1 0 0-2 2, Darby High 0 0 0-0 0. Totals: 13-46 8-12 39. Fouls: 17. Fouled out: None. 3-point goals: 5-18. Rebounds: 8 offense, 16 defense = 24 (Patrick 7, Ellis 6). Team rebounds: 3. Assists: 2 (Patrick 2). Steals: 8 (Ellis 3). Turnovers: 19.