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Team effort sparks Lady Dragons

Fairland Lady Dragons’ Chandler Fulks (12) scored 21 points including six 3-pointers to lead a 64-58 win over Portsmouth West on Saturday in the Division III district semifinals. (The Ironton Tribune / Kent Sanborn of Southern Ohio Sports Photos.com)

By JIM WALKER

Tribune Sports Editor

 

WAVERLY — There’s more than one singer in this band.

With leading scorer and rebounder Terra Stapleton sitting out nearly half the game in foul trouble, the Fairland Lady Dragons proved to be more than a one-woman band as they beat the Portsmouth West Lady Senators 64-58 in the Division III district semifinals.

The 6-foot-4 Stapleton went out six minutes into the game and with 3:30 left in the third quarter before returning in the fourth quarter. But sparked by Chandler Fulks’ season-high 21 points including six 3-pointers, the Lady Dragons were able to withstand the West upset bid.

“A lot of people look at us as a one-man team, but we’re more than just Terra,” said Fairland coach Jon Buchanan. “I’m proud of how our kids stepped up. We did a great job without Terra. We did a good job keeping our composure and playing defense.”

Besides Fulk’s 21 points, Stapleton had 13 points and six rebounds.

West (16-6) was led by Tori Leader with 20 points and 22 rebounds. Alex Ridout added 11 points.

“Portsmouth West is no slouch. They’ve won 16 games. They had some kids step up,” said Buchanan. “We felt we were a deeper team. We had more skilled kids.We felt we could pressure them, but the Leader kid is a good player. You have to account for her.”

Fairland (22-0) threatened to run away with the game early by jumping out to an 11-1 lead as Stapleton scored 9 points, but she went to the bench at the 2:17 mark with her second foul and Ridout and Leader scored to get West within 16-7.

Fulks took over in the second quarter as she hit three trifectas. West cut the lead to 27-17 when Fulks hit a long-range shot at the 1:48 mark to make it 30-17, and she hit another with six seconds left in the half and it was 33-21.

“Chandler played great. We tell our kids to take the open shots. She stepped it up,” said Buchanan.

The Lady Senators used a 13-3 run to begin the third quarter and it was 36-34 with 3:30 on the clock following two foul shots by Taylor Conley.

Fulks gave Fairland a boost with another 3-pointer and a layup by Mackenzie Riley just before the end of the quarter opened up a 44-38 lead.

Leader scored 4 straight points to start the fourth quarter and West was down 44-42, but the Lady Senators would get no closer.

Lauren Poe hit a baseline shot and Katie Fuller was fouled shooting a 3-pointer and converted all three free throw attempts for a 50-42 lead with 6:27 left.

West was forced to foul and Fairland made 14 of 19 free throw attempts in the quarter with Fuller going 8 of 9.

“(Fuller) wanted the basketball at the end of the game. She wanted to shoot the free throws. You want to have players like that,” said Buchanan.

Fairland will play in the district finals at 3:30 p.m. next Saturday at Waverly against the winner of Lucasville Valley and North Adams.

Ports. West 7 14 17 20 = 58

Fairland 16 17 11 20 = 64

PORTSMOUTH WEST (16-6): Taylor Conley 1 0 4-5 6, Hannah Cremeans 2 1 2-3 9, Tori Leader 6 0 8-11 20, McKenzie Whitaker 1 1 0-0 5, Alley Ridout 5 0 1-2 11, Alex Weghorst 0 0 0-0 0, Mimi Pierce 2 1 0-0 7, Angel Trapp 0 0 0-0 0. Totals: 20-57 15-21 58. 3-point goals: 3-11. Rebounds: 20-21=41 (Leader 22, Cremeans 5). Team Rebounds: 5. Assists: 8 (Leader 3, Cremeans 3). Steals: 6 (Leader 4). Turnovers: 17. Fouls: 21. Fouled out: Ridout (4th 1:55). Blocked shots: Weghorst 1.

FAIRLAND (22-0): Terra Stapleton 4 0 5-613, Katie Fuller 0 0 8-9 8, Jaimie Phillips 1 0 0-0 2, Chandler Fulks 1 6 1-2 21, Kelsley Riley 2 0 0-4 4, Kayla Swiger 1 0 3-4 5, Mackenzie Riley 1 0 1-2 3, Lauren Poe 3 0 0-0 6, Kerie Napier 0 0 0-0 0. Totals: 20-59 18-27 64. 3-point goals: 6-18. Rebounds: 21-18=39 (Stapleton 6, Swiger 5, K. Riley 4, M. Riley 4). Team rebounds: 10. Assists: 7 (K. Riley 4). Steals: 5 (Phillips 2, Fulks2). Turnovers: 12. Blocked shots: 6 (Stapleton 4). Fouls: 19. Fouled out: Phillips (4th 6:06).