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Cold shooting leaves Ironton just short, 31-28

Ironton Lady Fighting Tigers’ guard Alex Taylor (14) drives past an Eastern Brown defender during Saturday’s Division III district championship game at Ohio University. Ironton lost 31-28. (The Ironton Tribune / Kent Sanborn of Southern Ohio Sports Photos)

By JIM WALKER

Tribune Sports Editor

ATHENS — There was a 1970’s movie called “The Gang That Couldn’t Shoot Straight” about two warring mafia groups.

In the Division III district championship between two warring teams, the Ironton Lady Fighting Tigers couldn’t shoot straight in a 31-28 loss to the Eastern Brown Lady Warriors Saturday at the Ohio University Convocation Center.

Ironton was a mere 11 of 48 from the field for 23 percent — their worst shooting performance of the season. The Lady Tigers were one of 10 from the 3-point line and 5 of 10 at the foul line.

“We didn’t shoot well. It’s that simple,” said Ironton coach Doug Graham. “If we just shoot decent, we win. But that’s part of the game. You want to play good defense and we did, but you have to convert on your end as well.”

Eastern Brown’s deliberate offense struggled to get off open looks against the Ironton defense and made jut 12 of 41 shots for 29 percent.

Ironton (15-8) had 13 turnovers but only four in the second half.

“Defensively we did what we wanted to do,” said Graham. “We gave them problems in their delay game by not letting them do what they wanted. We just didn’t convert on the other end.”

The Lady Tigers had problems early with the Warriors’ press as they committed four turnovers and fell behind 11-4.

But a 19-footer by Alex Taylor, a steal and layup by Ariel Schweickart and a foul shot by Nikki Elswick cut the deficit to 11-9 at the end of the quarter.

Taylor hit two foul shots and Elswick made a layup off a pass from Taylor to give Ironton a 13-11 lead with 5:39 left in the half.

The scoring slowed to a crawl with Emily Davis hit the first of two foul shots with 4:08 on the clock to give Ironton a 14-13 lead. Neither team scored the rest of the half.

Ironton’s worst shooting woes took over in the third quarter. The Lady Tigers made only one of their 12 field goal attempts and fell behind 20-16.

A triple by Elswick cut the gap to 22-21 with 6:16 left and a steal and layup by Taylor had Ironton down 27-26 with 1:30 to play.

But a putback by Shayla Black gave Eastern a 29-26 lead and Amber Yockey’s two free throws with 21 seconds left put the lead at 31-26.

Taylor followed up a missed shot with five seconds to play. Allison Prine was fouled with less than a second to play and missed the free throw attempt, but Ironton was unable to get off a final shot.

Taylor led Ironton with 11 points, seven rebounds and four steals. Elswick had eight points and 13 rebounds.

The Lady Warriors got eight points and 12 rebounds from Christina Burns and Black added seven points.

Eastern Brown will play Sugarcreek Garaway Wednesday in the regional semifinals. Garaway beat Beverly Fort Frye 16-10 Friday in the district finals.

In the other Division III game, Oak Hill edges Zane Trace 39-38 in overtime.

Ironton 9 5 2 12 = 28

E. Brown 11 2 7 11 = 31

IRONTON (15-8): Alex taylor 4 0 3-4 11, Nikki Elswick 2 1 1-4 8, Ariel Schweickart 2 0 0-0 4, Karlee McMackin 1 0 0-0 2, Alicia Murphy 1 0 0-0 2, Emily Davis 0 0 1-2 1, Kaitlyn Adkins 0 0 0-0 0. Totals: 11-48 5-10 28. Fouls: 11. Fouled out: Taylor (4th 0:00.5). 3-point goals: 1-10. Rebounds: 15offense, 21 defense = 36 (Elswick 13, Taylor 7, McMackin 6, Murphy 6). Team rebounds: 2. Assists: 3 (Schweickart 2). Steals: 9 (Taylor 4, Davis 2). Turnovers: 13.

EASTERN BROWN (19-4): Amber Yockey 2 0 2-2 6, Allison Prine 1 0 3-7 5, Shayla Black 2 1 0-0 7, Leeza Rickey 0 1 0-0 3, Christina Burns 4 0 0-2 8, Emily Tatman 1 0 0-0 2, Tressie Lewis 0 0 0-0 0, Andrea Neu 0 0 0-0 0, Maria Johnson 0 0 0-0 0. Totals: 12-41 5-11 31. Fouls: 10. Fouled out: None. Rebounds: 11 offense, 24 defense = 35 (Burns 12, Yockey 6, Black 5). Team rebounds: 2. Assists: 6 (Yockey 3, Prine 2). Steals: 6 (Black 2). Turnovers: 15.